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The House of the Woi.k. 

A Gentleman of France. 

Under the Red Robe. 

My Lady Rotha. 

The New Rector. 

The Story of Francis Cludde. 

The Man in Black. 

Fkom the Memoirs of a Minister of France 

The Red Cockade. 



Sec page 2 1 . 



AUTHOK OF "a gentleman OF FRANCE," ETC. 

L O N f; M A N S, G R E EN, AND C O. 




I. The Marqdis de St. Ai.ais - - . - . \ 

II. The Orde.vl - - - 17 

III. In the Assembly 33 

IV. L'Ami dd Peuple 48 

V. The Deputation - - - - - - - 63 

VI. A Meeting in the Road 79 

VII. The Alarm - 95 

VIII. Gargodf --..-..- 109 

IX. The Tricolour 124 

X. The Morning after the Storm - - - - 137 

XI. The Two Camps - - - - - 1.51 

XII. The Duel - - - 165 

XIII. A la Lanterne 179 

XIV. It Goes III 193 

XV. At Milhau 206 

XVI. Three in a Carriage 220 

XVrr. Froment ok NImes ...--- 233 

XVI 1 1. A Poor Figure 247 

.\IX. At NiMEs 260 

XX. The Search 275 

XXI. Rivals 290 

XXII. Noblesse Oblige 3()l 

XXIII. The Crisis 3Ih 

XXIV. The Millennii m 331 

XXV. liEVoNi) the Shadow .... ;u(> 




When we reached the terraced walk, which my father 
made a httle before his death, and which, rmming mider 
the windows r^t the rear of the Chateau, separates the 
house from the new lawn, St. Alais looked round with 
eyes of scarcely-veiled contempt. 

"What have you done with the garden?" he asked, 
his lip curling. 

" My father removed it to the other side of the house," 
I answered. 

"Out of sight?" 

" Yes," I said ; " it is beyond the rose garden." 

" Knfdish fashion ! " he answered with a shrug and a 
polite sneer. " And you prefer to see all this grass from 
your windows? " 

"Yes," I said, "I do." 

"Ah! And that plantation ? It hidos the village, I 
suppose, froTTi the house?" 

" Yes." 

He lauf'hed. " Yes," he said. " I notice that that 
is the way of nil who prate of the people, jukI freedom, 
and fraternity. Tliey love the people ; but they love 
tluMu at a distance, on tlic fartlier side of a park or a 
hii,'h yew hedge Now, at St. Alais T like to have my 
folks under my eye, and then, if tliey 'h' 'T^'t hoiiave, 



tliere is the carcan. By the way, what have you done 
with yours, Vicomte? It used to stand opposite the 

" I have hurned it," I said, feehng the hlood mount 
to my temples. 

"Your father did, you mean?" he answered, with a 
ghmce of surprise. 

"No," I said stuhbornly, hating myself for being 
ashamed of that before St. Alais of which I had been 
proud enough when alone. " I did. I burned it last 
winter. I think the day of such things is past." 

The Marquis was not my senior by more than five 
years ; but those five years, spent in Paris and Versailles, 
gave him a wondrous advantage, and I felt his look of 
contemptuous surprise as I should have felt a blow. 
However, he did not say anything at the moment, but 
after a short pause changed the subject and began to 
speak of my father ; recalling him and things in connec- 
tion with him in a tone of respect and affection that in 
a moment disarmed my resentment. 

" The first time that I shot a bird on the wing I was 
in his company! " he said, with the wonderful charm 
of manner that had been St. Alais' even in boyhood. 

" Twelve years ago," I said. 

"Even so, Monsieur," he replied with a laughing 
bow. " In those days there was a small boy with bare 
legs, who ran after me, and called me Victor, and 
thought me the greatest of men. I little dreamed that he 
would ever live to expound the rights of man to me. 
And, DieM ! Vicomte, I must keep Louis from you, or 
you will make him as great a reformer as yourself. 
However," he continued, passing from that subject 
with a smile and an easy gesture, " I did not come here 
to talk of him, but of one, M. le Vicomte, in whom you 
should feel even greater interest." 


I felt the blood mount to my temples again, but for 
a different reason. "Mademoiselle has come home'?" 
I said. 

" Yesterday," he answered. "She will go with my 
mother to Cahors to-morrow, and take her first peep at 
the world. I do not doubt that among the many new 
things she will see, none will interest her more than the 
Vicomte de Saux." 

" Mademoiselle is well? " I said clumsily. 

"Perfectly," he answered with grave politeness, " as 
you will see for yourself to-morrow evening, if we do 
not meet on the road. I daresay that you will like a 
week or so to commend yourself to her, M. le Vicomte? 
And after that, whenever Madame la Marquise and you 
can settle the date, and so forth, the match had better 
come off — while I am here." 

I bowed. I had been expecting to hear this for a 
week past ; but from Louis, who was on brotherly terms 
with me, not from Victor. The latter had indeed been 
my boyish idfjl ; but that was years ago, before Court 
life and a long stay at Versailles and St. Cloud had 
changed him into the splendid-looking man I saw before 
me, the raillery of whoso eye I found it as difficult to 
meet as I found it impossible to match the aplomb of 
liis niann(!r. Still, I strove to make; such acknowledg- 
ments as became me ; and to ado])t that nice mixture; of 
self-respect, politt;ness, and devotion wliicli I knew that 
the occasion, forinnlly ticatod, required. J3ut my tongue 
stumbled, and in a inoiiicnt lie reli(wcd me. 

"Well, you must tell lliat to Dcnisc," ]\r. said 
pleasantly; " douljtless you will lind Iki- a ))ali(Mit 
listener. At first, of course," he continuiid, ))ulling on 
his gauntlets and smiling faintly, " sIkj will be a little 
shy. I have no doubt tlmt the good sisters have brought 
her up to regard a man in nnirb Ibc same light as a 


wolf ; and a suitor as something worse. But, eh bien, 
mon ami ! women are women after all, and in a week 
or two )'0U will commend yourself. We may hope, 
then, to see you to-morrow evening — if not before?" 

" Most certainly, M. le Marquis." 

" Why not Victor? " he answered, laying his hand on 
my arm willi a touch of the old bonhomie. "We shall 
soon be brothers, and then, doubtless, shall hate one 
another. In the meantime, give me your company to 
the gates. There was one other thing I wanted to 
name to you. Let me see — what was it?" 

But either he could not immediately remember, or 
he found a difficulty in introducing the subject, for we 
were nearly half-way down the avenue of walnut trees 
that leads to the vilhige when he spoke again. Then 
he plunged into the matter abruptly. 

" You have heard of this protest ? " he said. 

" Yes," I answered reluctantly and with a foresight 
of trouble. 

" You will sign it, of course? " 

He had hesitated before he asked the question ; I 
hesitated before I answered it. The protest to which he 
referred — how formal the phrase now sounds, though we 
know that under it lay the beginning of trouble and a 
new world — was one which it was proposed to move in 
the coming meeting of the noblesse at Cahors ; its aim, to 
condemn the conduct of our representatives at Versailles, 
in consenting to sit with the Third Estate. 

Now, for myself, whatever had been my original views 
on this question — and, as a fact, I should have preferred 
to see reform following the English model, the nobles' 
house remaining separate — I regarded the step, now 
it was taken, and legalised by the King, as irrevocable ; 
and protest as useless. More, I could not help know- 
ing that those who were moving the protest desired also 


to refuse all reform, to clino; to all privileges, to balk 
all hopes of better government ; hopes, which had been 
rising higher, day by day, since the elections, and which 
it might not now be so safe or so easy to balk. "With- 
out swallowing convictions, therefore, which were pretty 
well known, I could not see my way to supporting it. 
And I hesitated. 

"Well?"' he said at last, finding me still silent, 

" I do not think that I can," I answered, flushing. 

"Can support it?" 

"No," I said. 

He laughed genially. "Pooh!" he said. "I thnik 
that you will. I want your promise, Vicomte. It is a 
small matter ; a trifle, and of no importance ; but we 
must be unanimous. That is the one thing necessary." 

I shook my luad. We had both come to a halt 
under the trees, a little within the gates. His servant 
was leading the horses up and down the road. 

" Come," he persisted pleasantly : " you do not think 
that anything is going to come of tliis chaotic States 
General, which his Majesty was mad enough to let 
Neckar summon ? They met on the 4th of May ; this 
is the 17th of July ; and to this date they have done 
nothing but wrangle! Nothing! Presently they will 
be dismissed, ami ihcic will be an cam] of it ! " 

" Why protest, then ? " i said rather feebly. 

" I will tell you, my fri(md," he answered, smiling 
indulg(;ntly and tapping his l^oot with his whi)). "Have 
y(ju heard the latest news?" 

"What is it?" I replied cautiously. "Tlun I will 
tell you if I have luiard it." 

" Tlu! King has disniisscd Xeckar ! " 

"No!" I cried, unal)le to liidc iii\' sMr|irise, 

"Yes," he answered ; "the banker is (lismiss(>d. In 
a week his States General oi National .Vsscnihly, or 


whatever he pleases to call it, will go too, and we shall be 
where we were before. Only, in the meantime, and to 
strengthen the King in the wise course he is at last 
pursuing, we must show that we are alive. We must 
show our sympathy with him. We must act. We 
must protest." 

" But, M. le Marquis," I said, a little heated, perhaps, 
by the news, " are you sure that the people will quietly 
endure this ? Never was so bitter a winter as last 
winter ; never a worse harvest, or such pinching. On 
the top of these, their hopes have been raised, and their 
minds excited by the elections, and " 

" Whom have we to thank for that ? " he said, with 
a whimsical glance at me. " But, never fear, Vicomte ; 
tlu y will endure it. I know Paris ; and I can assure you 
that it is not the Paris of the Fronde, though M. de 
Mirabeau would play the Eetz. It is a peaceable, 
sensible Paris, and it will not rise. Except a bread riot 
or two, it has seen no rising to speak of for a century 
and a half : nothing that two companies of Swiss 
could not deal with as easily as D'Argenson cleared the 
Cuur des Mn'acles. Believe me, there is no danger of 
that kind : with the least management, all will go 
well ! " 

But his news had roused my antagonism. I found 
it more easy to resist him now. 

"I do not know," I said coldly; "I do not tliink 
that the matter is so simple as you say. The King 
must have money, or be bankrupt ; the people have no 
money to pay him. I do not see how things can go 
back to the old state." 

M. de St. Alais looked at me with a gleam of anger 
in his eyes. 

"You mean, Vicomte," he said, "that you do not 
wish them to go back V " 


" I mean that the old state was impossible," I said 
stiffly. " It could not last. It cannot retm-n." 

For a moment he did not answer, and we stood con- 
fronting one another — he just without, I just within, 
the gateway — the cool foliage stretching over us, the dust 
and July sunshine in the road beyond him ; and if my 
face reflected his, it was flushed, and set, and determined. 
But in a twinkling his changed ; he broke into an easy, 
polite laugh, and shrugged his shoulders with a touch 
of contempt. 

" Well," he said, " we will not argue ; but I hope that 
you will sign. Think it over, M. le Vicomte, think it 
over. Because " — he paused, and looked at me gaily — 
"we do not know what may be depending upon it." 

" That is a reason," I answered quickly, " for tliink- 
ing more before I " 

"It is a reason for thinking more before you refuse," 
he said, bowing very low, and this time without smiling. 
Then he turned to his horse, and his servant held the 
stirrup while he mounted. When he was in the saddle 
and had gathered up the reins, he bent his face to mine. 

" Of course," he said, speaking in a low voice, and 
witli a searching look at me, " a contract is a contract, 
M. le Vicomte ; and the Montagues and Capulets, like 
your carcan, are out of date. But, all the same, we 
must go one way — comprenez-vous ? — we must go one 
way — or separate ! At least, I think so." 

And nodding pleasantly, as if he had nitcicd in these 
words a c(;mpliment instead ot a threat, he rode otf; 
leaving me to stand and fi-et and fume, and (inally to 
stride back inider iIh; tre(;s vvilii my tlHJiights in a whirl, 
and all my plans and hopes jarring one anotluM* ni a 
petty copy of the confusion that that day prevailctl, 
though I guessed it but dindy, from oiie end of France 
to the other. 


For I could not be blind to his meaning ; nor ignorant 
that he had, no matter how politely, bidden me choose 
between the alliance with his family, which my father 
had arranged for me, and the political views in which 
my father had brought me up, and which a year's resi- 
dence in England had not failed to strengthen. Alone 
in the Chateau since my father's death, I had lived a 
good deal in the future — in day-dreams of Denise de St. 
Alais, the fair girl who was to be my wife, and whom I 
had not seen since she went to her convent school ; in 
day-dreams, also, of work to be done in spreading round 
me the prosperity I had seen in England. Now, St. 
Alais' words menaced one or other of these prospects ; 
and that was bad enough. But, in truth, it was not 
that, so much as his presumption, that stung me ; that 
made me swear one moment and laugh the next, in a kind 
of irritation not difhcult to understand. I was twenty- 
two, he was twenty-seven ; and he dictated to me ! We 
were country bumpkins, he of the haute politique, and 
he had come from Versailles or from Paris to drill us ! 
If I went his way I might marry his sister ; if not, I 
might not ! That was the position. 

No wonder that before he had left me half an hour I 
liad made up my mind to resist him ; and so spent the 
rest of the day composing sound and unanswerable 
reasons for the course I intended to take ; now conning 
over a letter in which M. de Liancourt set forth his 
plan of reform, now summarising the opinions with 
which M. de Rochefoucauld had favoured me on his 
last journey to Luchon. In half an hour and the heat 
of temper! thinking no more than ten thousand others, 
who that week chose one of two courses, what I was 
doing. Gargouf, the St. Alais' steward, who doubtless 
heard that day the news of Neckar's fall, and rejoiced, 
had no foresight of what it meant to him. Father 


Benoit, the cure, who supped with me that evening, 
and heard the tidings with sorrow — he, too, had no 
special vision. And the innkeeper's son at La Bastide, 
by Cahors — probably he, also, heard the news ; but no 
shadow of a sceptre fell across his path, nor any of a 
baton on that of the notary at the other La Bastide. 
A notary, a baton ! An innkeeper, a sceptre ! Mon 
Dieu ! what conjunctions they would have seemed in 
those daj's ! We should have been wiser than Daniel, 
and more prudent than Joseph, if we had foreseen 
such things under the old regime — in the old France, in 
the old world, that died in that month of July, 1789 ! 

And yet there were signs, even then, to be read by 
those with eyes, that foretold something, if but a tithe 
of the inconceivable future ; of which signs I mj^self 
remarked sufficient by the way next day to fill my njiud 
with other thougiits than private resentment ; with 
some nobler aims than self-assertion. Hiding to 
Cahors, with Gil and Andre at my back, I saw not only 
the havoc caused by the great frosts of the winter and 
spring, not only walnut trees blackened and withered, 
vines stricken, rye killed, a huge proportion of the land 
fallow, desert, gloomy and unsown : not only those 
common signs of poverty to which use had accustomed 
me— though on my first return from England I liad 
viewed tliem with horror — mud cabins, I mean, and 
ungla/ed windows, starved cattle, and women bent 
double, gathering weeds. But I saw other things more 
ominous; a strange herding of men at cross-roads and 
bridges, where they waited for they knew not what ; a 
something lowering in these men's silence, a something 
ex|)(!ctant in fheir faces ; worst of all, a soMK^thing 
dfingnrous in tiioir scowling eyes and, sunken cluM-ks. 
Hunger iiad pinched them; the elections had roused 
them. I trembled to think of the issue, and that in 


Liu; hint of daiij^er I had given St. Alais, I. had been 
only too near the mark. 

A league farther on, where the woodlands skirt 
Cahors, I lost sight of these things ; but for a time 
only. They reappeared presently in another form. 
The first view of the town, as, girt by the shining Lot, 
and protected by ramparts and towers, it nestles under 
the steep hills, is apt to take the eye; its matchless 
bridge, and time-worn Cathedral, and great palace 
seldom failing to rouse the admiration even of those 
who know them. But that day I saw none of these 
things. As I passed down towards the market-place 
they were selling grain under a guard of soldiers with 
fixed bayonets ; and the starved faces of the waiting 
crowd that filled all that side of the square, their 
shrunken, half-naked figures, and dark looks, and the 
sullen muttering, which seemed so much at odds with 
the sunshine, occupied me, to the exclusion of every- 
thmg else. 

Or not quite. I had eyes for one other thing, and 
that was the astonishing indifference with which those 
whom curiosity, or business, or habit had brought to 
the spot, viewed this spectacle. The inns were full of 
the gentry of the province, come to the Assembly ; 
they looked on from the windows, as at a show, and 
talked and jested as if at home in their chateaux. 
Jiefore the doors of the Cathedral a group of ladies and 
clergymen walked to and fro, and now and then they 
turned a listless eye on what was passing ; but for the 
most part they seemed to be unconscious of it, or, at 
the best, to have no concern with it. I have heard it 
said since, that in those days we had two worlds in 
France, as far apart as hell and heaven ; and what I 
saw that evening went far to prove it. 

In the square a shop at which pamphlets and journals 


were sold was full of customers, though other shops in the 
neighbourhood were closed, their owners fearing mischief. 
On the skirts of the crowd, and a little aloof from it, I saw 
Gargonf, the St. Alais' steward. He was talking to a 
countryman; and, as I passed, I heard him say with a 
gibe, " Well, has your National Assembly fed you yet?" 

" Not yet," the clown answered stupidly, " but I am 
told that in a few days they will satisfy everybody." 

"Not they!" the agent answered brutally. "Why, 
do you think that they will feed you ? " 

" Oh, yes, by your leave ; it is certain," the man said. 
" And, besides, every one is agreed " 

But then Gargouf saw me, saluted me, and I heard 
no more. A moment later, however, I came on one of 
my own people, Buton, the blacksmith, in the middle of 
a muttering group. He looked at me sheepishly, finding 
liimself caught ; and I stopped, and rated him soundly, 
and saw him start for home before I went to my quarters. 

These were at the Trois liois, where I always lay 
when in town ; Doury, the innkeeper, providing a 
supper ordinary for the gentry at eight o'clock, at which 
it was the custom to dress and powder. 

The St. Alais had their own house in Caliors, and, as 
the Marquis liad forewarned me, entertained that 
evening. The greater part of the company, indeed, 
repaired to them after the meal. I went myself a little 
late, that 1 might avoid any private talk with the Mar- 
quis ; I found the rooms already full and brilhantly 
lighted, the staircase crowded with valets, and the 
strains of a harpsichord trickling melodiously fri»iii llic 
windows. Madame de St. Alais was in the h.-iltit of 
entertaining the best company in tin; province; with 
less splendfjur, perhaps, tiian some, but with so nnich 
ease, and taste, and go(Kl breeding, that 1 lo(jk in vain 
for such a house in these days. 


Oi-diiicirily, she preferred to people her rooms with 
pleasant o;roups, that, f^racefully disposed, gave to a 
salon an air elegant and pleasing, and in character with 
the costume of those days, the silks and laces, powder 
and diamonds, the full hoops and red-heeled shoes. 
But on this occasion the crowd and the splendour of 
the entertainment apprised me, as soon as I crossed the 
threshold, that I was assisting at a party of more than 
ordinary importance ; nor had I advanced far before I 
guessed that it was a political rather than a social 
'fathering. All, or almost all, who would attend the 
Assembly next day were here ; and tliough, as I wound 
my way through the glittering crowd, I heard very little 
serious talk — so little, that T marvelled to think that 
people could discuss the respective merits of French and 
Itahan opera, of Gretry and Bianchi, and the like, while 
so much hung in the balance — of the effect intended I 
had no doubt ; nor that Madame, in assembling all the 
wit and beauty of the province, was aiming at things 
higher than amusement. 

With, I am bound to confess, a degree of success. 
At any rate it was difficult to mix with the throng which 
filled her rooms, to run the gauntlet of bright eyes and 
witty tongues, to breathe the atmosphere laden with 
perfume and music, without falling under the spell, 
without forgetting. Inside the door M. de Gontaut, 
one of my father's oldest friends, was talking with the 
two Harincourts. He greeted me with a sly smile, and 
pointed politely inwards. 

" Pass on. Monsieur," he said. " The farthest room. 
Ah ! my friend, I wish I were young again ! " 

" Your gain would be my loss, M. le Baron," I said 
civilly, and slid by him. Next, 1 had to speak to two 
or three ladies, who detained me with wicked con- 
gratulations of the sajne kind ; and then I came on 


Louis. He clasped my hand, and we stood a moment 
together. The crowd elbowed us ; a simpering fool 
at his shoulder was prating of the social contract. 
But as I felt the pressure of Louis' hand, and looked 
into his eyes, it seemed to me that a breath of air from 
the woods penetrated the room, and swept aside the 
heavy perfumes. 

Yet there was trouble in his look. He asked me if I 
had seen Victor. 

" Yesterday," I said, understanding him perfectly, 
and what was amiss. "Not to-day." 

"Nor Denise?" 

" No. I have not had the honour of seeing Made- 

" Then, come," he answered. " My mother expected 
you earlier. What did you think of Victor? " 

" That he went Victor, and has returned a great 
personage ! " I said, smiling. 

Louis laughed faintly, and lifted his eyebrows with 
a comical air of sufferance. 

" I was afraid so," he said. " He did not seem to be 
very well pleased with you. But we must all do his 
bidding — ^eli, Monsieur? And, in the meantime, come. 
My mother and Denise are in the farthest room." 

He led the way thither as he spoke ; but we had 
first to go tlirougli the card-room, and then the crowd 
about tlio farther doorway was so dense that wc could 
not innnediatcjly enter; and so I had time — while 
outwardly smiling and i)owing — to feel a little suspense. 
At last we slipped through and entered a smaller room, 
where wcrt; only MadauK! la Marquise — who was 
standing in ihc middle of the floor talking with the 
Abbe Mesnil — two or thi"ee ladies, and nciiisc ({>■ St. 

Miulemoiselle had her seat on u couch by one of tin; 


ladies ; and naturally my eyes went first to her. She was 
dressed in white, and it struck me with the force of a blow 
how small, how childish she was ! Very fair, of the 
purest complexion, and perfectly formed, she seemed to 
derive an extravagant, an absurd, air of dignity from 
the formality of her dress, from the height of the 
powdered hair that strained upwards from her forehead, 
from the stiffness of her brocaded petticoat. But she 
was very small. I had time to note this, to feel a little 
disappointment, and to fancy that, cast in a larger 
mould, she would have been supremely handsome ; and 
then the lady beside her, seeing me, spoke to her, and 
the child — she was really little more — looked up, her 
face grown crimson. Our eyes met — thank God ! she 
had Louis' eyes — and she looked down again, blushing 

I advanced to pay my respects to Madame, and 
kissed the hand, which, without at once breaking off 
her conversation, she extended to me. 

"But such powers!" the Abbe, who had some- 
thing of the reputation of a jjhilosophe, was saying 
to her. " Without limit ! Without check ! Misused, 
Madame " 

" But the King is too good!" Madame la Marquise 
answered, smiling. 

" When well advised, I agree. But then the deficit ? " 

The Marquise shrugged her shoulders. "His Ma- 
jesty must have money," she said. 

"Yes — but whence?" the Abbe asked, with an- 
swering shrug. 

" The King was too good at the beginning," Madame 
replied, with a touch of severity. " He should have 
made them register the edicts. However, the Parlia- 
ment has always given way, and will do so again." 

"The Parliament — yes," the Abbe retorted, smiling 


indulgently. "But it is no longer a question of the 
Parliament; and the States General " 

" States General pass," Madame responded grandly. 
" The King remains ! " 

" Yet if trouble comes? " 

" It will not," Madame answered with the same 
grand air. " His Majesty will prevent it." And then 
with a word or two more she dismissed the Abbe and 
turned to me. She tapped me on the shoulder with 
her fan. "Ah! truant," she said, with a glance in 
which kindness and a little austerity were mingled. 
" I do not know what I am to say to you ! Indeed, 
from the account Victor gave me yesterday, I hardly 
knew whether to expect you this evening or not. Are 
you sure that it is you who are here ? " 

" I will answer for my heart, Madame," I answered, 
laying my hand upon it. 

Her eyes twinkled kindly. 

"Then," she said, "bring it where it is due, Mon- 
sieur." And she turned with a fine air of ceremony, 
and led me to her daughter. " Denise," she said, "this 
is M. le Vicomte de Saux, the son of my old, my good 
friend. .^^. le Vicomte — my daughter. Perhaps you 
will amuse her while I go back to the Abbe." 

Probably Mademoiselle had spent the cscning in an 
agony of shyness, expecting this nnjineiit ; I'm' she 
curtesied to the floor, and then stood duml) and con- 
fused, forgetting even to sit down, until I covcrcul her 
with fresh blushes by begging her to do so. \\ hi n she 
had complied, I tcKjk my stand befoic her, with my hat 
ill my hajid ; but between seeking for the right compli- 
ment, and trying to trace a likeness l)etween her imkI 
the wild, brown-faced cliihl "f tliiiteen, whom T liad 
known four years before — and from the dignified height 
of nineteen immeasuialjly despised — 1 grew shy myself. 


" You came home last week, Mademoiselle?" I said 
at last. 

"Yes, Monsieur," she answered, in a whisper, and 
with downcast eyes. 

" It must be a great change for you ! " 

" l^es, Monsieur." 

Silence : then, " Doubtless the Sisters were good to 
you? " I suggested. 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

" Yet, you were not sorry to leave?" 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

But on that the meaning of what she had last said 
came home to her, or she felt the banality of her 
answers ; for, on a sudden, she looked swiftly up at 
me, her face scarlet, and, if I was not mistaken, she 
was within a little of bursting into tears. The thought 
appalled me. I stooped lower. 

" Mademoiselle ! " I said hurriedly, "pray do not be 
afraid of me. Whatever happens, you shall never have 
need to fear me. I beg of you to look on me as a 
friend — as your brother's friend. Louis is my " 

Crash ! While the name hung on my lips, some- 
thing struck me on the back, and I staggered forward, 
almost into her arms ; amid a shiver of broken glass, 
a flickering of lights, a rising chorus of screams and 
cries. For a moment I could not think what was 
happening, or had liappened ; the blow had taken away 
my breath. I was conscious only of Mademoiselle 
clinging terrified to my arm, of her face, wild with 
fright, looking up to me, of the sudden cessation of the 
music. Then, as people pressed in on us, and 1 began 
to recover, I turned and saw that the window behind 
me had been driven in, and the lead and panes 
shattered ; and that among the debris on the floor lay 
a great stone. It was that which had struck me. 




as wonderful how quickly the room filled — filled with 

v faces, so that almost hefore I knew what had 

)ened, I found a crowd romid me, asking what it 

; M. de St. Alais foremost. As all spoke at once, 

in the background where they could not see, ladies 

■ screaming and chattering, I might have found it 

•ult to explain. But the shattered window and 

,freat stone on the floor spoke for themselves, and 

more quickly than I could what had taken place. 

1 the instant, with a speed which surprised me, the 

blew into a ilame passions already smouldering. 

)zen voices cried, "Out on the canaille!" In a 

ent some one in the background fdllnwcd tliis u]) 

" Swords, Messieurs, swords! " Then, in a tiice 

be gentlemen were ell)owing one another towards 

nor, St. Alais, wiio burned to avenge the insult 

■d to bis guests, taking the lead. M. de (ronlauL 

>ne or two of the elders tried to rcsti'ain bnn, but 

remonstrances were in vain, and in a hkimk iit 

)()ni was idniost ejnptied ct' men. 'I'licy ji^incd 

iti) the street, and began to scoin- ii wiili diuwn 

s iiiid raised voices. A dozen valets, lunnniL; (Mil, 

)UH]y with flaml)eaux, iiidcd in tb<- searc^li ; lor a 

linutes the street, as we who lemained viewed it 

the windows, seemed to be nlivc with moving 

and figures. 



But the rascals wlio liad flung the stone, whatever 
the motive which inspired them, had tied in time ; and 
presently our party returned, some a little ashamed of 
their violence, others laughing as they entered, and 
bewailing their silk stockings and spattered shoes ; 
while a few, less fashionable or more impetuous, con- 
tinued to denounce the insult, and threaten vengeance. 
At another time, the act might have seemed trivial, a 
childish insult ; but in the strained state of public feel- 
ing it had an unpleasant and menacing air which was 
not lost on the more thoughtful. During the absence 
of the street party, the draught from the broken window 
had blown a curtain against some candles and set it 
alight ; and though the stuff had been torn down with 
little damage, it still smoked among the debris on the 
floor. This, with the startled faces of the ladies, and 
the shattered glass, gave a look of disorder and ruin to 
the room, where a few minutes before all had worn so 
seemly and festive an air. 

It did not surprise me, therefore, that St. Alais' face, 
stern enough at his entrance, grew darker as he looked 

"Where is my sister?" he said abruptly, almost 

" Here," Madame la Marquise answered. Denise 
had flown long before to her side, and w^as clinging to 

"She is not hurt?" 

" No," Madame answered, playfully tapping the girl's 
cheek. " M. de Saux had most reason to complain." 

" Save me from my friends, eh. Monsieur?" St. Alais 
said, with an unpleasant smile. 

I started. The words were not much in themselves, 
but the sneer underlying them was plain. I could 
scarcely pass it by, "If you think, M. le Marquis," 


I said sharply, " that I knew anything of this out- 


"That 3'on knew anything? Ma foi, no!" he re- 
phed hghtly, and with a courtly gesture of deprecation. 
" We have not fallen to that yet. That any gentleman 
in this company should sink to play the fellow to 
those — is not possible ! But I think we may draw 
a useful lesson from this, Messieurs," he continued, 
turning from me and addressing the company. "And 
that is a lesson to hold our own, or we shall soon 
lose all." 

A hum of approbation ran round the room. 

" To maintam privileges, or we shall lose rights." 

Twenty voices were raised in assent. 

" To stand now," he continued, his colour high, his 
hand raised, " or never ! " 

" Then now ! Now ! " 

The cry rose suddenly not from one, but fron a 
hundred throats — of men aiul women; in a moment the 
room catching his tone seemed to throb with enthusi- 
asm, with the pulse of resolve. Men's eyes grew bright 
under the candles, they breathed quickly, and with 
heightened colour. Even the weakest felt the influence ; 
the fool wlio had prated of the social contract and the 
rights of man was as loud as any. "Now! Now!" 
they cried with one voice. 

What followed on that I have never completc^Iy 
fathomed ; nor whether it was a thing ari'angcd, or 
merely an iiis))iration, born of tiie connnon cnLhusiasm. 
But while tin; windows still shook with that shout, and 
every eye was on liun, M. de Alais stepped forward, tlu^ 
most gallant and perfect figui'ts and with a splcinlid 
gesture drew his sword. 

" Gentlemen I " he cried, " wo are of one mind, of one 
voice. Let us be also in the fashion. If, while :ill the 


world is fightiii<>' to get and hold, we alone stand still 
and on the defensive — we court attack, and, what is 
worse, defeat ! Let us unite then, while it is still time, 
and show that, in Quercy at least, our Order will stand 
or fall together. You have heard of the oath of the 
Tennis Court and the '20th of June. Let us, too, take 
an oath — this 22nd of July ; not with uplifted hands 
like a club of wordy debaters, promising all things to 
all men ; but with uplifted swords. As nobles and 
gentlemen, let us swear to stand by the rights, the 
privileges, and the exemptions of our Order ! " 

A shout that made the candles flicker and jump, that 
filled the street, and was heard even in the distant 
market-place, greeted the proposal. Some drew their 
swords at once, and flourished them above their heads ; 
while ladies waved their fans or kerchiefs. But the 
majority cried, "To the larger room! To the larger 
room ! " And on the instant, as if in obedience to an 
order, the company turned that way, and flushed, and 
eager, pressed through the narrow doorway into the 
next room. 

There may have been some among them less enthu- 
siastic than others ; some more earnest in show than 
at heart ; none, I am sure, who, on this, followed so 
slowly, so reluctantly, with so heavy a heart, and sure 
a presage of evil as I did. Already I foresaw the 
dilemma before me ; but angry, hot-faced, and uncer- 
tain, I could discern no way out of it. 

If I could have escaped, and slipped clear from the 
room, I would have done so without scruple ; but the 
stairs were on the farther side of the great room which 
we were entering, and a dense crowd cut me off from 
them ; moreover, I felt that St. Alais' eye was upon 
me, and that, if he had not framed the ordeal to meet 
jny case, and extort my support, he was at least deter- 


mined, now that his blood was fired, that I should not 
evade it. 

Still I would not hasten the evil day, and I lingered 
near the inner door, hoping; hut the Marquis, on reach- 
ing the middle of the room, mounted a chair and turned 
round ; and so contrived still to face me. The mob of 
gentlemen formed themselves round liiui, the younger 
and more tumultuous uttering cries of " Vive la No- 
blesse ! " And a fringe of ladies encircled all. The lights, 
the brilliant dresses and jewels on which they shone, 
the impassioned faces, the waving kerchiefs and bright 
eyes, rendered the scene one to be remembered, though 
at the moment I was conscious only of St. Alais' gaze. 

"Messieurs," he cried, "draw your swords, if you 
please ! " 

They flashed out at the word, with a steely glitter 
which the mirrors reflected; and M. de St. Alais passed 
his eye slowly round, while all waited for the word. 
He stopped ; his eye was on me. 

" M. de Saux," he said politely, " we are waiting i\)V 

Naturally all turned to me. I strove to mutter some- 
thing, and signed Id hiiii with my liaiid to goon. But 
I was too much confused to speak clearl\' ; my only 
liope was that he would comply, out of prudence. 

lint that was the last thing he thouglit of doing. " Will 
you take your place. Monsieur?" he said smoothly. 

Then T could escape lu) longer. A hundnul eyes, 
.some inipati(!nt, some merely curious, rest('(l on me. 
My face burned. 

" I cannot do so," I answered. 

There fell a great silence from one end of the room 
to the othei'. 

" Wliv not, Monsieur, if T may ask? "' Si, .Mais said 
still smoothly. 


" Because I am not — entirely at one with you," I 
Rtanimered, meeting all eyes as bravely as I could. 
" My opinions are known, M. de St. Alais," I went on 
more steadfastly. " I cannot swear." 

He stayed with his hand a dozen who would have 
cried out upon me. 

" Gently, Messieurs," he said, with a gesture of 
dignity, " gently, if you please. This is no place for 
threats. M. de Saux is my guest ; and I have too 
great a respect for him not to respect his scruples. 
But I think that there is another way. I shall not 
venture to argue with him myself But — Madame," he 
continued, smiling as he turned with an inimitable air 
to his mother, " I think that if you would permit 
Mademoiselle de St. Alais to play the recruiting- 
sergeant— for this one time — she could not fail to heal 
the breach." 

A murmur of laughter and subdued applause, a 
flutter of fans and women's eyes greeted the proposal. 
But, for a moment, Madame la Marquise, smiling and 
sphinx-hke, stood still, and did not speak. Then she 
turned to her daughter, who, at the mention of her 
name, had cowered back, shrinking from sight. 

"Go, Denise," she said simply. "Ask M. de Saux 
to honour you by becoming your recruit." 

The girl came forward slowly, and with a visible 
tremor; nor shall I ever forget the misery of that 
moment, or tlie shame and obstinacy that alternately 
surged through my brain as I awaited her. Thought, 
quicker than lightning, showed me the trap into 
which I had fallen, a trap far more horrible than 
the dilemma I had foreseen. Nor was the poor girl 
herself, as she stood before me, tortured by shyness, 
and stammering her little petition in words barely in- 
telligible, the least part of my pain. 


For to refuse her, in face of all those people, seemed 
a thing impossible. It seemed a thing as brutal as to 
strike her; an act as cruel, as churlish, as unworthy of 
a gentleman as to trample any helpless sensitive thing 
under foot ! And I felt that ; I felt it to the utmost. 
But I felt also that to assent was to turn my back on 
consistency, and my life ; to consent to be a dupe, the 
victim of a ruse ; to be a coward, though every one 
there might applaud me. I saw both these things, and 
for a moment I hesitated between rage and pity ; while 
lights and fair faces, inquisitive or scornful, shifted 
mazily before my eyes. At last — 

" Mademoiselle, I cannot," I muttered. " I can- 

" Monsieur!" 

It was not the girl's word, but Madame's, and it rang 
high and sharp through the room ; so that I thanked 
God for the intervention. It cleared in a moment the 
confusion from my brain. I became myself. I turned 
to her ; I bowed. 

"No, Madame, I cannot," I said firmly, doubting 
no longer, but stubborn, defiant, resolute. " My opin- 
ions are known. And I will not, even for Mademoiselle's 
sake, give the lie to them." 

As the last word fell from my lips, a glove, flung by 
an unseen hand, struck me on the cheek ; and then for 
a moment the room seemed to go mad. Amid a storm 
of hisses, of '' Vaurien /" and "A has le traitre!" a 
dozen blades were brandished in iii\- [\u'a% a dozen 
ciiallenges were flung at my head. I b;i<l not learned 
at that time how excitable is a crowd, bow iniicli less 
merciful than any njombc.r of it ; and sur[)risc(l and 
deafened by the tumult, which the shrieks of the ladies 
did not tend to diminish, I recoiled a pace. 

M. do St. Alais took advantage of tiie Uiomcnt. lie 


sprang down, and thrusting aside the blades wliich 
threatened me, flung himself in front of me. 

" Messieurs, listen ! " he cried, above the uproar. 
" Listen, I beg ! This gentleman is my guest. He is 
no longer of us, hut he must go unharmed. A way! 
A way, if you please, for M. le Vicomte de Saux." 

They obeyed him reluctantly, and falling back to one 
side or the other, opened a way across the room to the 
door. He turned to me, and bowed low — his courtliest 

" This way, Monsieur le Vicomte, if you please," he 
said. " Madame la Marquise will not trespass on your 
time any longer." 

I followed him with a burning face, down the narrow 
lane of shining parquet, under the chandelier, between 
the lines of mocking eyes ; and not a man interposed. 
In dead silence I followed him to the door. There he 
stood aside, and bowed to me, and I to him ; and I 
walked out mechanically — walked out alone. 

I passed through the lobby. The crowd of peeping, 
grinning lackeys that filled it stared at me, all eyes ; 
but I was scarcely conscious of their impertinence or 
their presence. Until 1 reached the street, and the 
cold air revived me, I went like a man stunned, and 
unable to think. The blow had fallen on me so 
suddenly, so unexpectedly. 

When I did come a little to myself, my first feeling 
was rage. I had gone into M. de St. Alais' house that 
evening, possessing everything ; I came out, stripped 
of friends, reputation, my betrothed ! I had gone in, 
trusting to his friendship, the friendship that was a 
tradition in our families ; he had worsted me by a 
trick. I stood in the street, and groaned as I thought 
of it ; as I pictured the sorry figure I had cut amongst 
them, and reflected on what was before me. 


For, presentl}', I began to think that I had been a 
fool — that I should have given way. I could not, as 
I stood in the street there, foresee the future ; nor 
know for certain that the old France was passing, and 
that even now, in Paris, its death-knell had gone 
forth. I had to live by the opinions of the people 
round nie ; to think, as I paced the streets, how I 
should face the company to-morrow, and whether I 
should fly, or whether I should fight. For in the 
meeting on the morrow 

Ah ! the Assembly. The word turned my thoughts 
into a new channel. I could have my revenge there. 
That I might not raise a jarring note there, they had 
cajoled me, and when cajolery failed, had insulted me. 
Well, I would show them that the new way would 
succeed no better than the old, and that where they 
had thought to suppress a Saux they had raised a 
Miraboau. From this point I passed the night in a 
fever. Kesentment spurred ainl)iti()n ; rage against my 
caste, a love of the people, f^very sign of misery and 
famine that had passed before my eyes during tho day 
recurred now, and was garnered for use. 'V\\v vxu\y 
dayliglit found me still pacing my room, still thinking, 
composing, reciting ; when Andre, my old body-servant, 
who had been also my father's, came at seven with a 
note in his hand, I was still in my clothes. 

Doubtless he had heard downstairs a garbled account 
of what had occuirc'd, and my checik burned. I took 
no notice of iiis glof)my lof)ks, however, but, without 
speaking, I opened the note. It was not signed. l>iit 
the handwriting was Louis'. 

" (io home," it ran, "and do not show yourself at 
the Assembly. They will ehalhinge you one by one ; 
the event is certain. Leave Cahors at once, or yon are 
a dead njan." 


That was all ! I smiled bitterly at the weakness of 
the man who could do no more for his friend than this. 

" Who gave it to you? " I asked Andre. 

" A servant, Monsieur." 


But he muttered that he did not know ; and I did 
not press him. He assisted me to change my dress ; 
when I had done, he asked me at what hour 1 needed 
the horses. 

"The horses! For what?" I said, turning and 
staring at him. 

" To return, Monsieur." 

"But I do not return to-day!" I said in cold dis- 
pleasure. "Of what are you speaking? We came 
only yesterday." 

" True, Monsieur," he muttered, continuing to potter 
over my dressing things, and keeping his back to me. 
" Still, it is a good day for returning." 

" You have been reading this note ! " I cried wrath- 
fully. " Who told you that " 

" All the town knows ! " he answered, shrugging his 
shoulders coolly. " It is, ' Andre, take your master 
home ! ' and, ' Andre, you have a hot-pate for a master,' 
and Andre this, and Andre that, until I am fairly 
muddled ! Gil has a bloody nose, fighting a Harin- 
court lad that called Monsieur a fool ; but for me, I am 
too old for fighting. And there is one other thing I 
am too old for," he continued, with a sniff. 

" What is that, impertinent ? " I cried. 

" To bury another master." 

I waited a minute. Then I said : " You think that I 
shall be killed ? " 

"It is the talk of the town!" 

I thought a moment. Then : " You served my 
father, Andre," I said. 


" Ah ! Monsieur." 

" Yet you would have me run away ? " 

He turned to me, and flung up his hands in despair. 

" Mon Bieu ! " he cried, " I don't know what I would 
have ! We are ruined by these canaille. As if God 
made them to do anything but dig and work ; or we 
could do without poor ! If you had never taken up 
with them, Monsieur " 

" Silence, man ! " I said sternly. " You know nothing 
about it. Go down now, and another time be more 
careful. You talk of the canaille and the poor ! What 
are you yourself? " 

"I, Monsieur?" he cried, in astonishment. 

" Yes — you ! " 

He stared at me a moment with a face of bewilder- 
ment. Then slowly and sorrowfully he shook his head, 
and went out. He began to think nie mad. 

When he was gone I did not at once move. I fancied 
it likely that if I showed myself in the streets, before 
the Assembly mot, I should be challenged, and forced 
to fight. I waited, therefore, until the hour of meeting 
was past ; waited in the dull upper room, feeling the 
bitterness of isolation, and thinking, sometimes of Louis 
St. Alais, who had let me go, and spoken no word in 
luy behalf, sometimes of men's umcasonableness ; for 
in some of the provinces half of the nol)ility were of 
my way of thinking. I thought of Saux, too ; and I 
will not say that I felt no temptation to adopt tiie course 
which Andre had suggested — to withdraw (|uietly 
thitber, and then at some later tinu;, when men's nunds 
were calmer, to vindicate my courage. P>ut a certain 
stubbornness, which my fatli{;r had Ixiforc me, and 
which I have heard people say comes of ;in hhiglish 
strain in the race, conspired with resentment to keep 
me m tlie way I had marked out. At a (juarter past 


ten, therefore, when I thought that the last of the 
Meinhers would have preceded me to the Assembly, 
I went downstairs, with hot cheeks, but eyes that were 
stern enough ; and finding Andre and Gil waiting at 
the door, bade them follow nic to the Chapter House 
beside the Cathedral, where the meetings were held. 

Afterwards I was told that, had I used my eyes, I 
must have noticed the excitement which prevailed in 
the streets ; the crowd, dense, yet silent, that filled the 
Square and all the neighbouring ways ; the air of 
expectancy, the closed sliops. the cessatioxi of business, 
the whispering groups in alleys and at doors. But I 
was wrapped up in myself, like one going on a forlorn 
hope ; and of all remarked only one thing — that as I 
crossed the Square a man called out, " God bless you, 
Monsieur!" and another, ''Vive Saux !" and that 
thereon a dozen or more took off their caps. This I did 
notice ; but mechanically only. The next moment I 
was in the entry which leads alongside one wall of the 
Cathedral to the Chapter House, and a crowd of clerks 
and servants, who blocked it almost from wall to wall, 
were making way for me to pass ; not without looks of 
astonishment and curiosity. 

Threading my way through them, I entered the empty 
vestibule, kept clear by two or three ushers. Here 
the change from sunshine to shadow, from the life and 
light and stir which prevailed outside, to the silence 
of this vaulted chamber, was so great that it struck 
a chill to my heart. Here, in the greyness and stillness, 
the importance of the step I was about to take, the 
madness of the challenge 1 was about to fling down, in 
the teeth of my brethren, rose before me ; and if my 
mind had not been braced to the utmost by resentment 
and obstinacy, I must have turned back. But already 
my feet rang noisily on the stone pavement, and for- 


bade retreat. I could hear a monotonous voice droning 
in the Chamber beyond the closed door ; and I crossed 
to that door, setting my teeth hard, and preparing 
myself to play the man, whatever awaited me. 

Another moment, and I should have been inside. 
My hand was already on the latch, when some one, 
who had been sitting on the stone bench in the shadow 
under the window, sprang up, and luuried to stop me. 
It was Louis de St. Alais. He reached me before I 
could open the door, and, thrusting himself in front 
of me, set his back against the panels. 

" Stop, man ! for God's sake, stop !" he cried passion- 
ately, yet kept his voice low. "What can one do 
against two hundred 'r' Go back, man, go back, and 
[ will " 

''You will!" I answered with fierce contempt, yet 
in the same low tone — the ushers were staring curiously 
at us from the door by which I had entered. "You 
will? You will do, I suppose, as much as you did last 
night, Monsieur." 

"Never mind that now!" he answered earnestly; 
though he winced, and the colonr rose to his brow. 
" Only go ! Go to Saux, and " 

" Keep out of the way ! " 

"Yes," he said, "and keep out of the way. If you 
will do that " 

" Keep out of the way ?" I repeated savagely. 

" Yes, yes; then everything will blow over." 

"Thank you!" I said slowly; and I treniMcd with 
rage. "And how miicli, may i ask, are you to have, 
M. le Comte, for ridding the Assembly of me?" 

He stared at me. " Adrien ! " lie cried. 

But 1 was ruthless. "No, Monsieur Ic Comte— not 
Adrien ! " I said proudly ; " I am that only to my 


" And I am no longer one '? " 

I raised my eyebrows contemptuously. "After last 
night?" I said. ''After last night? Is it possible, 
Monsieur, that you fancy you played a friendly part ? 
I came into your house, your guest, your friend, your 
all but relative ; and you laid a trap for me, you held 
me up to ridicule and odium, you " 

"I did?" he exclaimed. 

"Perhaps not with your own voice. But you stood 
by and saw it done ! You stood by and said no word 
for me ! You stood by and raised no finger for me ! 
If you call that friendship " 

He stopped me with a gesture full of dignity. " You 
forget one thing, M. le Vicomte," he said, in a tone of 
proud reticence. 

" Name it ! " I answered disdainfully. 

" That Mademoiselle de St. Alais is my sister ! " 

" Ah ! " 

"And that, whether the fault was yours or not, you 
last evening treated her lightly — -before two hundred 
people ! You forget that, M. le Vicomte." 

"I treated her lightly?" I replied, in a fresh excess 
of rage. We had moved, as if by common consent, a 
little from the door, and by this time were glaring into 
one another's eyes. "And with w^hom lay the fault 
if I did? With whom lay the fault. Monsieur? You 
gave me the choice — nay, you forced me to make choice 
between slighting her and giving up opinions and con- 
victions which I hold, in which I have been bred, in 
which " 

" Opinions /" he said more harshl}' than he had yet 
spoken. " And what are, after all, opinions? Pardon 
me, I see that I annoy you, Monsieur. But I am not 
philosophic ; I have not been to England ; and I cannot 
understand a man " 


" Giving up anything for his opinions ! " I cried, with 
a savage sneer. " No, Monsieur, I daresay you cannot. 
If a man will not stand by his friends he wnll not stand 
by his opinions. To do either the one or the other, M. 
le Conite, a man must not be a coward." 

He grew pale, and looked at me strangely. " Hush, 
Monsieur ! " he said — involuntarily, it seemed to me. 
And a spasm crossed his face, as if a sharp pain shot 
through him. 

But I was beside mj'self with passion. " A coward ! " 
I repeated. " Do you understand me, M. le Comte ? 
Or do you wish me to go inside and repeat the word 
before the Assembly?" 

" There is no need," he said, growing as red as he 
had before been pale. 

"There should be none," I answered, with a sneer. 
"May I conclude that you will ineet mo after the 
Assembly rises? " 

He bowed without speaking ; and then, and not till 
then, something in his silence and his looks pierced the 
armour of my rage ; and on a sudden I grew sick at 
heart, and cold. It was too late, however ; I had said 
that which could never be unsaid. The memory of his 
patience, of his goodness, of his foibearance, came after 
the event. I saluted liim formally; he replied ; and I 
turned grimly to the door again. 

But I was not to pass tlirf)Ugh it yet. 

A second titiic when I had the latch in my grasp, and 
the door an incii open, a hand jjluckod me l):ici< ; so 
forcibly, that the latch rattled as it fell, and I turned u\ 
a rage. To my astonishment it was Louis again, l)ut 
with a changed face — a face of strange excitenjciit. i !<■ 
retained his hold on me. 

" No," he said, between his teeth. " Vou have called 
me a coward, M. h; Yicomtt;, and T will not, wait ! Not 


an lu)ur. You shall fight me now. There is a garden 
at the back, and " 

But I had grown as cold as he hot. "I shall do 
nothing of the kind," I said, cutting him short. " After 
the Assembly " 

He raised his hand and deliberately struck me with 
his glove across the face. 

"Will that persuade you, then?" he said, as 1 in- 
voluntarily recoiled. "After that, Monsieur, if you are 
a gentleman, you will fight me. There is a garden at 
the back, and in ten minutes " 

" In ten minutes the Assembly may have risen," I 

" I will not keep you so long ! " he answered sternly. 
" Come, sir ! Or must I strike you again ? " 

"I will come," I said slowly. "After you. Mon- 




The blow, and the insult with which he accompanied 
it, put an end for the moment to my repentance. But 
short as was the distance across the floor from the one 
door to the other, it gave me time to think again ; to re- 
member that this was Louis ; and that whatever cause 
I had had to complain of him, whatever grounds to 
suspect that he was the tool of others, no friend could 
have done more to assuage my wrath, nor the most 
honest more to withhold me from entering on an im- 
possible task. Melting quickly, melting almost in- 
stantly, I felt with a kind of horror that if kindness 
alone had led him to interpose, I had made him the 
worst return in the world ; in fine, before the outer 
door could be opened to us, I repented anew. When 
the usher held it for me to pass, I bade him close it, 
and, to Louis' surprise, turned, and, muttering some- 
thing, ran back. J>eforo ho, could do more than utter a 
cry I was across the vestibule ; a moment, and 1 had 
the door of the Assembly open. 

Instantly I saw before me — I suppose that my hand 
had raised the latch noisily — tiers of surprised faces all 
tnrii(!d my way. 1 heard ;i, iiiuiimir of iiiiiigl('(| mmoy- 
ance and laughtci'. The next moment I was tliread- 
ing my way to my place with the monotonous voice of 
the President in my ears, and the scone round me so 
changed — from thjit low-toned altcrcatif^n outside, to 



this Chamber full of light and life, and thronged with 
starers — that I sank into my seat, dazzled and abashed; 
and almost forgetful for the time of the purpose which 
brought me thither. 

A little, and my face grew hotter still ; and with good 
reason. Each of the benches on which we sat held 
three. I shared mine with one of the Harincourts and 
M. d'Aulnoy, my place being between them. I had 
scarcely taken it five seconds, when Harincourt rose 
slowly, and, without turning his face to me, moved away 
down the gangway, and, fanning himself delicately with 
his hat, assumed a leaning position against a desk with 
his gaze on the President. Half a minute, and D'Aul- 
noy followed his example. Then the three behind me 
rose, and quietly and without looking at me found 
other places. The three before me followed suit. In 
two minutes I sat alone, isolated, a mark for all eyes ; 
a kind of leper in the Assembly ! 

I ought to have been prepared for some such demon- 
stration. But I was not, and my cheeks burned, as if 
the curious looks to which I was exposed were a hot 
fire. It was impossible for me, taken by surprise, to 
hide my embarrassment ; for, wherever I gazed, I met 
sneering eyes and contemptuous glances ; and pride 
would not let me hang my head. For many minutes, 
therefore, I was unconscious of everything but that 
scorching gaze. I could not hear what was going for- 
ward. The President's voice was a dull, meaningless 
drawl to me. 

Yet all the while anger and resentment were harden- 
ing me in my resolve ; and, presently, the cloud passed 
from my mind, and left me exulting. The monotonous 
reading, to which I had listened without understanding 
it, came to an end, and was followed by short, sharp 
interrogations — a question and an answer, a name and 


a reply. It was that awoke me. The drawl had been 
the reading of the cahier ; now they were voting on it. 

Presently it would be my turn ; it was coming to my 
turn now. With each vote — I need not say that all 
were affirmative — more faces, and yet more, were turned 
to the place where I sat ; more eyes, some hostile, some 
triumphant, some merely curious, were directed to 
my face. Under other circumstances this might have 
cowed me; now it did not. I was wrought up to face 
it. The unfriendly looks of so many who had called 
themselves my friends, the scornful glances of new men 
of ennobled families, who had been glad of my father's 
countenance, the consciousness that all had deserted me 
merely because I maintained in practice opinions which 
half of them had proclaimed in words — these things 
hardened me to a pitch of scorn no whit below that of 
ray opponents ; while the knowledge that to blench 
now must cover me with lasting shame closed the door 
to thoughts of surrender. 

The Assembly, on the other hand, felt the novelty of 
its position. Men were not yet accustomed to the war 
of the Senate ; to duels of words more deadly than 
those of the sword : and a certain doubt, a certain 
hesitation, held the; niajcjiity in suspense, watching to 
see what would happen. Moreover, the leaders, both 
M. de St. Alais, who luuided the hottci' nnd prouder 
party of the Court, and the nobh^s of llic liobc 
and Parliament, who had only lately discoveifd that 
theiv interest lay in th(; same direction, foinid them- 
selves embarrassed by tin; v(!ry sniallness of the opposi- 
tion ; since a substantial majority nuist linvc I n 

accepted as a fact, whereas one njan — one man old} 
standing in the way of unanimity — presented himself 
as a thing to be removed, if the way could be dis- 


" M. le Comte de Cantal?" the President cried, and 
looked, not at the person he named, but at nie. 

" M. le Vicomte de Marignac ? " 
" Content ! " 

The next name I could not hear, for in my excitement 
it seemed that all in the Chamber were looking at me, 
that voice was failing me, that when the moment came 
I should sit dumb and paralysed, unable to speak, and 
for ever disgraced. I thought of this, not of what was 
passing ; then, in a .moment, self-control returned ; I 
heard the last name before mine, that of M. d'Aulnoy, 
heard the answer given. Then my own name, echoing 
in hollow silence. 

" M. le Vicomte de Saux ? " 

I stood up. I spoke, my voice sounding harsh, and 
like another man's. " I dissent from this cahier ! " I 

I expected an outburst of wrath ; it did not come. 
Instead, a peal of laughter, in which I distinguished 
St. Alais' tones, rang through the room, and brought 
the blood to my cheeks. The laughter lasted some 
time, rose and fell, and rose again ; while I stood pil- 
loried. Yet this had one effect the laughers did not 
anticipate. On occasions the most taciturn become 
eloquent. I forgot the periods from Rochefoucauld and 
Liancourt, which I had so carefully prepared ; I forgot 
the passages from Turgot, of which I had made notes, 
and I broke out in a strain I had not foreseen or in- 

" Messieurs ! " I cried, hurling my voice through the 
Chamber, " I dissent from this cahier because it is effete 
and futile ; because, if for no other reason, the time 
when it could have been of service is past. You claim 
your privileges ; they are gone ! Your exemptions ; 


they are gone ! You protest against the union of your 
representatives with those of the people ; but they have 
sat with them ! They have sat with them, and you can 
no more undo that by a protest than you can set back 
the tide ! The thing is done. Tlie dog is hungry, you 
have given it a bone. Do you tliiuk to get the bone 
back, unmouthed, whole, without loss ? Then you are 
mad. But this is not all, nor the principal of my objec- 
tions to this cahier. France to-day stands naked, 
bankrupt, without treasury, without mone}'. Do you 
think to help her, to clothe her, to enrich her, by main- 
taining your privileges, by maintaining your exemptions, 
by standing out for the last jot and tittle of your rights? 
No, Messieurs. In the old days those exemptions, those 
rights, those privileges, wherein our ancestors gloried, 
and gloried well, were given to them because they were 
the buckler of France. They maintained and armed 
and led men ; the commonalty did the rest. But now 
the people fight, the people pay, the; peoph; do all. Yes, 
Messieurs, it is true ; it is true that which we liavc all 
heard, ' Le manant jjayc pour tout ! ' "' 

I paused ; expecting that now, at last, the long- 
delayed outburst of anger would come. Instead, before 
any in the Chamber could speak, there rose through 
the windows, which looked on the market-place, and 
had been widely opened on account of the heat, a great 
cry of applause; the shout of the street, that for (he 
first time heard its wrongs voiced. Tt was full of 
assent and rejoicing, y(;t no attack could have discon- 
certed mc more completely. 1 stood astonished, and 

The effect which it had on nic was sligiit, however, 
in comparison with that which it had on my opponents. 
The cries of dissent they were about to utter died still- 
born at the portent; and, for a moment, men stared at 


one another as if they could not beheve their ears. For 
that moment a silence of rage, of surprise, prevailed 
through tlu! whole Chamber. Then M. de St. Alais 
sprang to his feet. 

"What is this?" he cried, his handsome face dark 
with excitement. " Has the King ordered us, too, to 
sit with the third estate? Has he so humiliated us? 
If not, M. le President — if not, I say," he continued, 
sternly putting down an attempt at applause, " and if 
this be not a conspiracy between some of our body and 
the canaille to bring about another Jacquerie " 

The President, a weak man of a Eobe family, inter- 
rupted him. " Have a care, Monsieur," he said. " The 
windows are still open." 

" Open ? " 

The President nodded. 

"And what if they are? What of it?" St. Alais 
answered harshly. " What of it, Monsieur?" he con- 
tinued, looking round him with an eye which seemed 
to collect and express the scorn of the more fiery spirits. 
" If so, let it be so ! Let them be open. Let the 
people hear both sides, and not only those who flatter 
them ; those who, by building on their weakness and 
ignorance, and canting about their rights and our 
wrongs, think to exalt themselves into Ketzs and Crom- 
wells ! Yes, Monsieur le President," he continued, 
while I strove in vain to interrupt him, and half the 
Assembly rose to their feet in confusion, " I repeat the 
phrase — who, to the ambition of a Cromwell or a 
Ketz add their violence, not their parts ! " 

The injustice of the reproach stung me, and I turned 
on him. " M. le Marquis ! " I cried hotly, " if, by that 
phrase, you refer to me " 

He laughed scornfully. "As you please, Monsieur," 
he said. 


" I fling it back ! I repuditate it ! " I cried. " M. de 
St. Alais has called me a Retz — a Cromwell " 

"Pardon me," he interposed swiftly; "a would-be 
Retz ! " 

" A traitor, either way ! " I answered, striving against 
the laughter, which at his repartee flashed through 
the room, bringing the blood rushing to my face. " A 
traitor either way ! But I say that he is the traitor 
who to-day advises the King to his hurt." 

"And not he who comes here with a mob at his 
back?" St. Alais retorted, with heat almost equal to 
my own. " Who, one man, would brow-beat a hundred, 
and dictate to this Assembly?" 

" Monsieur repeats himself," I cried, cutting him 
short in my turn, though no laughter followed my gibe. 
" I deny what he says. I fling back his accusations ; 
I retort upon him ! And, for the rest, I object to this 
cahier, I dissent from it, I " 

But the Assembly was at the end of its patience. A 
roar of "Withdraw! withdraw!" drowned my voice, 
and, in a moment, the meeting so orderly a few minutes 
before, became a scene of wild uproar. A few of the 
elder men continued to keep their seats, but the ma- 
jority rose ; some had already sprung to the windows, 
and closed them, and still stood with their feet on the 
ledge, looking down on the confusion. Others had 
gone to the door and taken their stand there, perhaps 
with the idea of resisting intrusion. The President in 
vain cried for silence. Jlis voice, equally with mine, 
was lost in tiie persistent clamour, wliich swelled to a 
louder pitch whenever I offered to speak, and sank only 
when I desisted. 

At length M. de St. Alais raised his hand, and with 
little difliculty procured silence. Before I could take 
advantage of it, the I'ntsidciit interposed. "'Vhv. As- 


sembly of the iioblessu of Quercy," he said hurriedly, 
"is in favour- of this cahier, maintaining our ancient 
rights, privileges, and exemptions. The Vicomte de 
!Saux alone protests. The cahier will be presented." 

" I protest ! " I cried w^eakly. 

" I have said so," the President answered, with a 
sneer. And a peal of derisive laughter, mingled with 
shouts of applause, ran round the Chamber. " The 
cahier will be presented. The matter is concluded." 

Then, in a moment, magically, as it seemed to me, 
the Chamber resumed its ordinary aspect. The Mem- 
bers who had risen returned to their seats, those who 
had closed the windows descended, a few retired, 
the President proceeded with some ordinary business. 
Every trace of the storm disappeared. In a twinkling 
all was as it had been. 

Even where I sat ; for no isolation, no division from 
my felloW'S could exceed that in which I had sat before. 
But whereas before I had had my weapon in reserve 
and my revenge in prospect, that was no longer so. I 
had shot my bolt, and I sat miserable, fettered by the 
silence and the strange glances that hemmed me in, 
and growing each moment more depressed and more 
self-conscious ; longing to escape, yet shrinking from 
moving, even from looking about me. 

In this condition not the least of my misery lay in 
the reflection that I had done no good ; that I had 
suffered for a quixotism, and shown myself stubborn 
and obstinate to no purpose. Too late, I considered 
that I miglit have maintained my principles and yet 
conformed ; I might have stated my convictions and 
waived them in deference to the majority. I might 

But alas ! whatever 1 might have done, 1 had not 
done it; and the die was cast. I had declared my- 


self against my order ; I had forfeited all I could 
claim from my order. Henceforth, I was not of it. It 
was no fancy that alread}^ men who had occasion to 
pass before me drew their skirts aside and bowed 
formally as to one of another class ! 

How long I should have endured this penance — 
these veiled insults and the courtesy that stung deeper 
— before I plucked up spirit to withdraw, I cannot say. 
It was an interposition from without that broke the 
spell. An usher came to me with a note. I opened it 
with clumsy fingers under a fire of hostile eyes, and 
found that it was from Louis. 

" If you have a spark of honour " — it ran—" you will 
meet me, without a moment's delay, in the garden at 
the back of the Chapter House. Do so, and you may 
still call yourself a gentleman. Kefuse, or delay even 
for ten minutes, and I will publish your shame from 
one end of Quercy to the other. He cannot call him- 
self Adrien du I'ont de Saux, wlio puts up with a 

I read it twice while the usher waited. The words 
had a cruel, heartless ring in them ; the taunting chal- 
lenge was brutal in its directness. Yet my heart grew 
soft as I read, and I had imicli ado to keep the tears 
from my eyes — under all those eyes. For Louis did 
not deceive me this time. This note, so unlike him, 
this desperate attempt to draw me out, and save me 
from opponents more ruthless, were too transparent to 
delude hk^; and, in ;i moment, tlic icy bands wbicli had 
been growing over nic nu-lti'd. I still sat alone ; hut 1 
was not quite des(!rt(!d. t could hold up my head 
again, for 1 had a friend. 1 remembered that, after all, 
through nil, I was Adri(!ii ihi I'luit de Saux, guiltless of 
aught worse than holding in Quercy opinions which the 
Lameths and Miraljeaus, the fiiancourts and luichrfou- 


caulds held in their provinces ; guiltless, I told myself, 
of aught besides standing for right and justice. 

But the usher waited. I took from the desk before 
nie a scrap of paper, and wrote my answer. " Adrien 
does not fight with Louis because St. Alais struck 

I Avrapped it up and gave it to the usher; then I sat 
back a different man, able to meet all eyes, with a 
heart armed against all misfortunes. Friendship, gener- 
osity, love, still existed, though the gentry of Quercy, 
the Gontauts, and Marignacs, sat aloof. Life would still 
hold sweets, though the grass should grow in the wal- 
nut avenue, and my shield should never quarter the 
arms of St. Alais. 

So I took courage, stood up, and moved to go out. 
But the moment I did so, a dozen Members sprang to 
their feet also ; and, as I walked down one gangway 
towards the door, they crowded down another parallel 
with it ; offensively, openly, with the evident intention 
of intercepting me before I could escape. The com- 
motion was so great that the President paused in his 
reading to watch the result ; while the mass of Members 
who kept their places, rose that they might have a 
better view. I saw that I was to be publicly insulted, 
and a fierce joy took the place of every other feeling. 
If I went slowly, it was not through fear ; the pent-up 
passions of the last hour inspired me, and I would not 
have hastened the climax for the world. I reached the 
foot of the gangway, in another moment we must have 
come into collision, when an abrupt explosion of voices, 
a great roar in the street, that penetrated through the 
closed windows, brought us to a halt. We paused, listen- 
ing and glaring, while the few who had not stood up 
before, rose hurriedly, and the President, startled and 
suspicious, asked what it was. 


For answer the sound rose attain — dull, prolonged, 
shaking the windows ; a hoarse shout of triumph. It 
fell — not ceasing, but passing away into the distance — 
and then once more it swelled up. It was unlike an}^ 
shout I had ever heard. 

Little by little articulate words grew out of it, or 
succeeded it ; until the air shook with the measured 
rhythm of one stern sentence. " A has la Bastille ! 
A has la Bastille ! " 

We were to hear many such cries in the time to come, 
and grow accustomed to such alarms ; to the hungry 
roar in the street, and the loud knocking at the door 
that spelled fate. But they were a new thing then, and 
the Assembly, as much outraged as alarmed by this 
second trespass on its dignity, could only look at its 
President, and mutter wrathful threats against the 
canaille. The canaille that had crouched for a century 
seemed in some unaccountable way to be changing its 
posture ! 

One man cried out one thing, and one another; that 
the streets should he cleared, the regiment sent for, or 
complaint made to tlio Intendant. They were still 
speaking when the door opened and a Member came in. 
It was Louis de St. Alais, and his face was aglow with 
excitement. Commonly the most modest and quiet of 
men, he stood forward now, and raised his hand im- 
peratively for silence. 

" Gentlemen," he said, in a loud, ringing voice, " tliore 
is strange news ! A courier with lett(;rs for my brotiier, 
M. de St. Alais, has spoken in the strcMjt. lie brings 
strange tidings." 

" What?" two or three cried. 

" The i^astilie has fallen ! " 

No one understood — how should they? — l)Ut all 
were silent. Then, " \\'liat do you hicmii, M. Si. Alais?" 


the President asked, in bewilderment ; and he raised his 
hand that the silence might be preserved. " The Bastille 
has fallen ? How ? What is it ? " 

" It was captured on Tuesday by the mob of Paris," 
Louis answered distinctly, his eyes bright, " and 
M. de Launay, the Governor, murdered in cold 

" The Bastille captured? By the mob V " the Presi- 
dent exclaimed incredulously. "It is impossible, 
Monsieur. You must have misunderstood." 

Louis shook his head. "It is true, I fear," he said. 

"And M. de Launay?" 

"That too, I fear, M. le President." 

Then, indeed, men looked at one another ; .startled, 
pale-faced, asking each nuite questions of his fellows ; 
while in the street outside the hum of disorder and re- 
joicing grew moment by moment more steady and 
continuous. Men looked at each other alarmed, and 
could not believe. The Bastille which had stood so 
many centuries, captured ? The Governor killed ? Im- 
possible, they muttered, impossible. For what, in that 
case, was the King doing ? What the army ? What the 
Governor of Paris ? 

Old M. de Gontaut put the thought into words. 
" But the King?" he said, as soon as he could get a 
hearing. " Doubtless his Majesty has already punished 
the wretches ? " 

The answer came from an unexpected quarter, in 
words as little expected. M. de St. Alais, to whom 
Louis had handed a letter, rose from his seat with an 
open paper in his hand. Doubtless, if he had taken 
time to consider, he would have seen the imprudence 
of making public all he knew ; but the surprise and 
mortification of the news he had received — news that 
gave the lie to his confident assurances, news that made 


the most certain doubt the ground on which they stood, 
swept away his discretion. He spoke. 

" I do not know what the King was doing," he said, 
in mocking accents, " at Versailles ; but I can tell you 
how the army was employed in Paris. The Garde 
Franqaise were foremost in the attack. Besenval, with 
such troops as have not deserted, has withdrawn. The 
city is in the hands of the mob. They have shot 
Flesselles, the Provost, and elected Bailly, Mayor. 
They have raised a Militia and armed it. They have 
appointed Lafayette, General. They have adopted a 

badge. They have " 

" But, moji Dieu ! " the President cried aghast. " This 
is a revolt ! " 

"Precisely, Monsieur," St. Alais answered. 
" And what does the King? " 

" He is so good — that he has done nothing," was the 
bitter answer. 

" And the States General ? — the National Assembly 
at Versailles ? " 

"Oh, they? They too have done nothing." 
" It is Paris, then ? " the President said. 
"Yes, Monsieur, it is Paris," the Marquis answered. 
" But Paris ? " the President exclaimed helplessly. 
" Paris has been quiet so many years." 

To this, however, the thought in every one's niiiid, 
there seemed to be no answer. St. Alais sat down 
again, and, for a moment, the Assembly remained 
stunned by astonishment, prostrate under these new, 
tliese marvellous facts. No better comment on the 
discussions in which it had been engaged a few minutes 
before could have been found Its Members bad been 
dreaming of their rights, their ])ri\ ileges, their exemp- 
tions ; they awoke to find I'aris in flames, th(^ army in 
revolt, order and law in the utmost peril. 


But St. Alais was not tlie man to be long wanting to 
his part, nor one to abdicate of his free will a leadership 
which vigour and audacity had secured foi- him. He 
sprang to his feet again, and in an impassioned harangue 
called upon the Assembly to remember the Fronde. 

" As Paris was then, Paris is now ! " he cried. 
"Fickle and seditious, to be won by no gifts, but 
always to be overcome by famine. Eest assured that 
the fat bourgeois will not long do without the white 
bread of Gonesse, nor the tippler without the white 
wine of Arbois ! Cut these off, the mad will grow sane, 
and the traitor loyal. Their National Guards, and 
their Badges, and their Mayors, and their General? 
Do you think that these w"ill long avail against the 
forces of order, of loyalty, against the King, the nobility, 
the clergy, against France ? No, gentlemen, it is 
impossible," he continued, looking round him with 
warmth. " Paris would have deposed the great Henry 
and exiled Mazarin ; but in the result it licked their 
shoes. It will be so again, only we inust stand together, 
we must be hnu. We must see that these disorders 
spread no farther. It is the King's to govern, and the 
people's to obey. It has been so, and it will be so to 
the end ! " 

His words were not many, but they were timely and 
vigorous ; and they served to reassure the Assembly. 
All that large majority, which in every gathering of men 
has no more imagination than serves to paint the 
future in the colours of the past, found his arguments 
perfectly convincing ; while the few who saw more 
clearly, and by the light of instinct, or cold reason, 
discerned that the state of France had no precedent in 
its history, felt, nevertheless, the infection of his 
confidence. A universal shout of applause greeted 
his last sentence, and, amid tumultuous cries, the 


concourse, which had remained on its feet, poured into 
the ganojways, and made for the door ; a desire to see 
and hear what was going forward moving all to get 
out as quickly as possible, though it was not likely that 
more could be learned than was already known. 

I shared this feeling myself, and, forgetting in the 
excitement of the moment my part in the day's debate, 
I pressed to the door. The Bastille fallen '? The 
Governor killed ? Paris in the hands of the mob ? 
Such tidings were enough to set the brain in a whirl, 
and breed forgetfulness of nearer matters. Others, in 
the preoccupation of the moment, seemed to be equally 
oblivious, and I forced my way out with the rest. 

But in the doorway I happened, by a little chunsi- 
ness, to touch one of the Harincourts. He turned his 
head, saw who it was had touched him, and tried to stop. 
The pressure was too great, however, and he was borne 
on in front of me, struggling and muttering something 
I could not hear. I guessed what it was, however, by 
the maimer in which others, abreast of him, and as 
helpless, turned their heads and sneered at \nc ; and I 
was considering how I could best encounter what was 
to come, when the sight which met our gaze, as we at 
last issued from the narrow passage and faced tlie 
market-place — two steps below us — drove their exist- 
ence for a moment from my mind. 




Theke were others who stood also ; impressed by a 
sight which, in the hght of the news we had just heard, 
that astonishing, that amazing news, seemed to have 
especial significance. We had not yet grown accustomed 
'in France to crowds. For centuries the one man, the 
individual, King, Cardinal, Noble, or Bishop, had stood 
forward, and the many, the multitude, had melted 
away under his eye ; had bowed and passed. 

But here, within our view, rose the cold lowering 
dawn of a new day. Perhaps, if we had not heard 
what we had heard— that news, I mean— or if the 
people had not heard it, the effect on us, the action on 
their part, might have been different. As it was, the 
crowd that faced us in the Square as we came out, the 
great crowd that faced us and stretched from wall to 
wall, silent, vigilant, menacing, showed not a sign of 
flinching; and we did. We stood astonished, each 
halting as he came out, and looldng, and then con- 
sulting his neighbour's eyes to learn what he thought. 

We had over our heads the great Cathedral, from the 
shadow of which we issued. We had among us many 
who had been wont to see a hundred peasants tremble 
at their frown. But in a moment, in a twinkling, as 
if that news from Paris had shaken the foundations of 
Society, we found these things in question. The crowd 
in the Square did not tremble. In a silence that was 


grimmer than howling it gave back look for look. 
Nor only that ; but as we issued, they made no way 
for us, and those of the Assembly who had already 
gone down, had to walk along the skirts of the press 
to get to the inn. We who came later saw this, and it 
had its weight with us. We were Nobles of the pro- 
vince ; but we were only two hundred, and between 
us and the Trois Eois, between us and our horses and 
servants, stretched this line of gloomy faces, these 
thousands of silent men. 

No wonder that the sight, and something that under- 
lay the sight, diverted my mind for a moment from M. 
Harincourt and his purpose, and that I looked abroad ; 
while he, too, stood gaping and frowning, and forgot 
me. Perforce we had to go down ; one by one re- 
luctantly, a meagre string winding across the face of 
the crowd ; sullen defiance on one side, scorn on the 
other. Til Cahors it came to be remembered as the 
first triumph (;f the people, the first step in the de- 
gradation of the privileged. A word had ])rought it 
al;out. A word, the Bastille fallen, had combined the 
floating groups, and formed of them this which we saw 
— the people. 

Under such circumstances it needed only the slightest 
spark to bring about an explosion ; and that was pre- 
sently supplied. M. de Gontaut, a tall, thin, old num, 
wlio could remember the early days of the late King, 
walked a little way in front of me. He was lame, and 
used a cane, and as a rule a servant's arm. Tliis 
morning, the lackey was not forthcoming, and lie felt 
the inconvenience of skirting instead of crossing the 
square. Nevertheless he was not foolish enough to 
thrust himself into the crowd ; iukI ;i11 iiii;4lil have 
gone well, if a rogue in the front rank of the throng 
liad not, perhaps by accident, tii[)p(;d up ihe cane with 



his foot. M. le Baron turned in a Hash, every hair of 
his eyebrows on end, and struck the fellow with his 

" Stand back, rascal ! " he cried, trembling, and 
threatening to repeat the blow. "If I had you, I 
would soon " 

The man spat at him. 

M. de Gontaut uttered an oath, and in ungovernable 
rage struck the wretch two or three blows — how many 
I could not see, though I was only a few paces behind. 
Apparently the man did not strike back, but shrank, 
cowed by the old noble's fury. But those behind flung 
him forward, with cries of " Shame! A has la No- 
blesse ! " and he fell against M. de Gontaut. In a 
moment the Baron was on the ground. 

It was so quickly done that only those in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood, St. Alais, the Harincourts, 
and myself, saw the fall. Probably the mob meant no 
great harm ; they had not yet lost all reverence. But 
at the time, with the tale of De Launay in my ears, 
and my imagination inflamed, I thought that they in- 
tended M. de Gontaut's death, and as I saw his old 
head fall, I sprang forward to protect him. 

St. Alais was before me, however. Bounding for- 
ward, with rage not less than Gontaut's, he hurled 
the aggressor back with a blow which sent him into 
the arms of his supporters. Then dragging M. de 
Gontaut to his feet, the Marquis whipped out his 
sword, and darting the bright point hither and thither 
with the skill of a practised fencer, in a twinkling he 
cleared a space round him, and made the nearest give 
back with shrieks and curses. 

Unfortunately he touched one man ; the fellow was 
not hurt, but at the prick he sank down screaming, and 
in a second the mood of the crowd changed. Shrieks, 


half-playful, gave way to a howl of rage. Some one 
flung a stick, which struck the Marquis on the chest, 
and for a moment stopped him. The next instant he 
sprang at the man who had thrown it, and would have 
run him through, but the fellow fled, and the crowd, 
with a yell of triumph, closed over his path. This 
stopped St. iVlais in mid course, and left him only the 
choice between retreating, or wounding people who 
were innocent. 

He fell back with a sneering word, and sheathed his 
sword. But the moment his back was turned a stone 
struck him on the head, and he staggered forward. 
As he fell the crowd uttered a yell, and half a dozen 
men dashed at him to trample on him. 

Their blood was up ; this time I made no mistake, 
I read mischief in their eyes. The scream of the man 
whom he had wounded, though the fellow was more 
frightened than hurt, was in their ears. One of the 
Harincourts struck down the foremost, but tiiis only 
enraged without checking them. In a moment he was 
swept aside and flung back, stunned ;ui(l reeling ; and 
the crowd rushed upon their victim. 

I threw myself before him. I had just time to do 
that, and cry " Shame ! shame ! " and force back one 
or two ; and then my intervention must have come 
to nothing, it nuist have fared as ill with me as with 
him, if in tJK; niek of time, with a ring of grimy faces 
threatening us, and a dozen hands upraised, I not 
been recognised. Buton, the blacksmith of Saux — one 
of the foremost — screamed out my name, and turning 
with outstretch(jd arms, forced back his neighbours. 
\ man of huge strength, it was as nnich as he could 
do to stem the torrent ; but in a moment his frenzied 
cries became heard and understood. Others recog- 
nised me, the crowd fell back. Some one raised a cry 


of " Vive Saiix ! Long live the friend of the people ! " 
and tlio shout being taken up first in one place and 
then in another, in a trice the Square rang with the 

I had not then learned the fickleness of the multi- 
tude, or tliat from A has to vive is the step of an in- 
stant ; and despite myself, and though I despised my- 
self for the feeling, I felt my heart swell on the wave 
of sound. " Vive Saiix ! Vive Vami dii peuple ! " 
My equals had scorned me, but the people — the people 
whose faces wore a new look to-day, the people to 
whom this one word, the Bastille fallen, had given 
new life — acclaimed me. For a moment, even while 
I cried to them, and shook my hands to them to be 
silent,, there flashed on me the things it meant ; the 
things they had to give, power and tribuneship ! 
" Vive Saux ! long live the friend of the people ! " 
The air shook with the sound ; the domes above me 
gave it back. I felt myself lifted up on it ; I felt my- 
self for the minute another and a greater man ! 

Theji I turned and met St. Alais' eye, and I fell to 
earth. He had risen, and, pale with rage, was wiping 
the dust from his coat with a handkerchief. A little 
blood was flowing from the wound in his head, but he 
paid no heed to it, in the intentness with which he 
was staring at me, as if he read my thoughts. As 
soon as something like silence was obtained, he spoke. 

" Perhaps if your friends have quite done with us, 
M. de Saux — we may go home?" he said, his voice 
trembling a little. 

I stammered something in answer to the sneer, and 
turned to accompany him ; though my way to the inn 
lay in the opposite direction. Only the two Harin- 
courts and M. de Gontaut were with us. The rest of 
the Assembly had either got clear, or were viewing the 


fracas from the door of the Chapter House, where thej- 
stood, cut off from us by a wall of people. I offered 
my arm to M. de Gontaut, but he declined it with a 
frigid bow, and took Harincourt's ; and M. le Marquis, 
when I turned to him, said, with a cold smile, that 
they need not trouble me. 

" Doubtless we shall be safe," he sneered, " if j-ou 
will give orders to that effect." 

I bowed, without retorting on him ; he bowed ; and 
he turned away. But the crowd had either read his 
attitude aright, or gathered that there was an alterca- 
tion between us, for the moment he moved they set up 
a howl. Two or three stones were thrown, notwith- 
standing Buton's efforts to prevent it ; and before the 
party had retired ten yards the rabble began to press 
on them savagely. Embarrassed by M. de Gontaut's 
presence and helplessness, the othei- three could do 
nothing. For an instant I had a view of St. Alais 
standing gallantly at bay with the old noble behind 
him, and the blood trickling down his cheek. Then 
I followed them, the crowd made instant way for me, 
again the air rang with cheers, and the Square in the 
hot July sunshine seemed a sea of waving hands. 

M. de St. Alais turned to me. He could still smile, 
and with marvellous self-command, in one and the 
same instant he recovered from his discomfiture and 
changed his tactics. 

" I am afraid that after all we must trouble you," 
he said politely. " M. U) Baron is not a young 
man, and your people, M. de Sau.\, are somewhat 

"What can I do?" I said sullenly. I had not the 
heart to leave them to their fortunes ; at the same time 
I was as little disposed to accept the onus he would ];i,y 
on me. 


" AcconipanjMis home," he said pleasantly, drawing 
out his snuff-box and takinf^ a pinch. 

The people had fallen silent again, but watched us 
heedful!}'. " If you think it will serve?" I answered. 

"It will," he said briskly. "You know, M. le Vi- 
comte, that a man is born and a man dies every 
minute ? Beheve me no King dies — but another King 
is born." 

I winced under the sarcasm, under the laughing con- 
tempt of his eye. Yet I saw nothing for it but to com- 
ply, and I bowed and turned to go with them. The 
crowd opened before us ; amid mingled cheers and yells 
we moved away. I intended only to accompany them 
to the outskirts of the throng, and then to gain the 
inn by a by-path, get my horses and be gone. But a 
party of the crowd continued to follow us through 
the streets, and I found no opportunity. Almost before 
I knew it, we were at the St. Alais' door, still with this 
rough attendance at our heels. 

Madame and Mademoiselle, with two or three women, 
were on the balcony, looking and listening ; at the door 
below stood a group of scared servants. While I looked, 
however, Madame left her place above and in a moment 
appeared at the door, the servants making way for her. 
She stared in wonder at us, and from us to the rabble 
that followed ; then her eye caught the bloodstains on 
M. de St. Alais' cravat, and she cried out to know if he 
was hurt. 

" No, Madame," he said lightly. " But M. de Gon- 
taut has had a fall." 

"What has happened?" she asked quickly. "The 
town seems to have gone mad ! I heard a great noise 
a while ago, and the servants brought in a wild tale 
about the Bastille." 

" It is true." 


"What? That the Bastille " 

" Has been taken by the mob, Madame ; and j\I. de 
Launay mm'dered." 

" Impossible ! " Madame cried with flashing eyes. 
" That old man?" 

"Yes," M. de St. Alais answered with treacherous 
suavity. " Messieurs the Mob are no respecters of 
persons. Fortunately, however," he went on, smiling 
at me in a way that brought the blood to my cheeks, 
" they have leaders more prudent and sagacious than 

But Madame had no ears for liis last words, no 
thought save of this astonishing news from Paris. 
She stood, her cheeks on fire, her eyes full of tears ; 
she had known De Launay. " Oh, but the King will 
punish them!" she cried at last. "The wretches! 
The ingrates I They should all be broken on the 
wheel ! Doubtless the King has already punished 

" He will, by-and-by, if he has not yet," St. Alais 
answered. " But for the moment, you will easily un- 
derstand, Madame, that things are out of joint. Men's 
heads are turned, and they do not Iviiow themselves. 
We have had a little trouble here. M. de Gontaut has 
been roughly handled, and I have not entirely escaped. 
If M. de Saux had not had his people well in hand," hr 
continued, turning to me with a laughing eye, " 1 am 
afraid that we should have come off worse." 

Madame stared at me, and, beginning slo\\l\ In com- 
prehend, seemed to freeze before me. The light dicil 
out of her haughty face. She looked at mv. grimly. 
I had a glimpse of Madciinoiselle's startled eyes behind 
her, and of the peeping servants ; then Madame spoke. 
" Are these some of — M. de Saux's people? " slu; asked, 
stepping forward a pace, and pointing to the crew of 


ruffians who had halted a few paces away, and were 
watching us doubtfully. 

" A handful," M. de 8t. Alais answered lightly. 
" Just his bodyguard, Madame. But pray do not speak 
of him so harshly ; for, being my mother, you must be 
obliged to him. If he did not quite save my life, at 
least he saved my beauty." 

" With those?" she said scornfully. 

" With those or from those," he answered gaily. 
" Besides, for a day or two we may need his protection. 
I am sure that, if you ask him, Madame, he will not 
refuse it." 

I stood, raging and lielpless, under the lash of his 
tongue ; and Madame de St. Alais looked at me. " Is 
it possible," she said at last, " that M. de Saux has 
thrown in his lot with wretches such as those ? " And 
she pointed with magnificent scorn to the scowling 
crew behind me. " With wretches who " 

" Hush, Madame," M. le Marquis said in his gibing 
fashion. " You are too bold. For the moment they 
are our masters, and M. de Saux is theirs. We must, 
therefore " 

" We must not ! " she answered impetuously, raising 
herself to her full height and speaking with flashing 
eyes. " What ? Would you have me palter with the 
scum of the streets ? With the dirt under our feet ? 
With the sweepings of the gutter ? Never ! I and mine 
have no part with traitors ! " 

" Madame ! " I cried, stung to speech by her in- 
justice. " You do not know what you say ! If I have 
been able to stand between your son and danger, it 
has been through no vileness such as you impute to 

" Impute ? " she exclaimed. " What need of im- 
putation, Monsieur, with those wretches behind you ? 


Is it necessary to cry * A has le roi ! ' to be a traitor ? 
Is not that man as guilty who fosters false hopes, and 
misleads the ignorant ? Who hints what he dare not 
say, and holds out what he dares not promise ? Is he 
not the worst of traitors ? For shame, Monsieur, for 

shame ! " she continued. " If your father " 

" Oh ! " I cried. " This is intolerable ! " 
She caught me up with a bitter gibe. " It is ! " she 
retorted. "It is intolerable — that the King's fortresses 
should be taken by the rabble, and old men slain b}^ 
scullions ! It is intolerable that nobles should forget 
whence they are sprung, and stoop to the kennel ! It 
is intolerable that the King's name should be flouted, 
and catchwords set above it ! All these things are in- 
tolerable ; but they are not of our doing. Thej'^ are 
your acts. And for you," she continued — and suddenly 
stepping by me, she addressed the group of rascals who 
lingered, listening and scowling, a few paces away — 
" for you, poor fools, do not be deceived. This gentle- 
man has told you, doubtless, that there is no longer a 
King of France ! That there are to be no more taxes 
nor corvees ; that the poor will be rich, and everybod)^ 
noble ! Well, believe him if you please. There have 
been poor and rich, noble and simple, spenders and 
makers, since the world began, and a King in France. 
But believe him if yon please. Only now go ! Leave 
my house. Go, or I will call out my servants, and 
whip you through the streets like dogs ! To your 
kennels, I say ! " 

She stamped her foot, and to my astonisliment, the 
men, who must have known that her threat was an 
empty one, sneaked away like the dogs to wliicli slie 
had compared them. In a moment — I could scarccOy 
believe it — the street was empty. The in(;n who had 
come near to killing M. de Gontaut, who had stoned 


M. de St. Alais, quailed before a woman ! In a twink- 
ling; the last man was gone, and she turned to me, her 
face flashed, her eyes gleaminf^ with scorn. 

" There, sir," she said, " take that lesson to heart. 
That is your brave people ! And now, Monsieur, do 
you go too ! Henceforth my house is no place for you. 
I will have no traitors under my roof — no, not for a 

She signed to me to go with the same insolent con- 
tempt which had abashed the crowd ; but before I 
went I said one word. " You were my father's friend, 
Madame," I said before them all. 

She looked at me harshly, but did not answer. 

" It would have better become you, therefore," I con- 
tinued, " to help me than to hurt me. As it is, were I 
the most loyal of his Majesty's subjects, you have done 
enough to drive me to treason. In the future, Madame 
la Marquise, I beg that you will remember that." 

And I turned and went, trembling with rage. 

The crowd in the Square had melted by this time, 
but the streets were full of those who had composed it ; 
who now stood about in eager groups, discussing what 
had happened. The word Bastille was on every 
tongue ; and, as I passed, way was made for me, and 
caps were lifted. " God bless you, M. de Saux," and, 
" You are a good man," were muttered in my ear. If 
there seemed to be less noise and less excitement than 
in the morning, the air of purpose that everywhere 
prevailed was not to be mistaken. 

This was so clear that, though noon was barely past, 
shopkeepers had closed their shops and bakers their 
bakeliouses ; and a calm, more ominous than the storm 
that had preceded it, brooded over the town. The 
majority of the Assembly had dispersed in haste, for I 
saw none of the Members, though I heard that a large 


body bad gone to the barracks. No one molested me — 
tbe fall of the Bastille served me so far — and I mounted, 
and rode out of town, without seeing any one, even 

To tell the truth, I was in a fever to be at home ; in 
a fever to consult the only man who, it seemed to me, 
could advise me in this crisis. In front of me, I saw 
it plainly, stretched two roads ; the one easy and 
smooth, if perilous, the other arid and toilsome. Madame 
had called me the Tribune of the People, a would-be 
Retz, a would-be Mirabeau. The people had cried my 
name, had hailed me as a saviour. Should I fit on the 
cap '? Should I take u]) the role ? My own caste had 
spurned me. Should I snatch at the dangerous honour 
offered to me, and stand or fall with the people '? 

With the people? It sounded well, but, in those 
days, it v/as a vaguer phrase than it is now ; and I 
asked myself who, that had ever taken up that cause, 
had stood? A bread riot, a tumult, a local revolt — 
such as tliis which had cost M. de Launay his life — of 
things of that size the people had shown themselves 
capable ; but of no lasting victory. Always the King 
had held his own, always the nobles had kept their 
privileges. Why should it be otherwise now ? 

There were reasons. Yes, truly ; but they seemed 
less cogent, the weight of precedent against them 
heavier, when I came to think, with a trembling heart, 
of acting on them. And the odium of deserting my 
order was no small matter to face. Jlitluuto I had 
been innocent ; if they 1i;hI |)ut out the lij) ;it nic, they 
had done it wrongfully. J>ut if I acceptcMl this ])art, 
the part they assigned to me, I must be prepared to 
face not only the worst in case of fiiilurc, but in success 
to be a pariah. 'J'o be Tribinic of the I'cdj)^', and an 
outcast from my kind 1 


I rode hard to keep pace with these thoughts ; and I 
did not doubt that I should be the first to bring the 
tale to Saux. But in tliose days nothing was more 
marvellous than the speed with which news of tliis kind 
crossed the country. It passed from mouth to mouth, 
from eye to eye ; the air seemed to carry it. It went 
before the quickest traveller. 

Everywhere, therefore, I found it known. Known 
by people who had stood for days at cross-roads, waiting 
for they knew not what ; known by scowling men on 
village bridges, who talked in low voices and eyed the 
towers of the Chateau ; known by stewards and agents, 
men of the stamp of Gargouf, who smiled incredulously, 
or talked, like Madame St. Alais, of the King, and how 
good he was, and how many he would hang for it. 
Known, last of all, by Father Benoit, the man I would 
consult. He met me at the gate of the Chateau, 
opposite the place where the carcan had stood. It was 
too dark to see his face, but I knew the fall of his 
soutane and the shape of his hat, I sent on Gil and 
Andre, and he walked beside me up the avenue, with 
his hand on the withers of my horse. 

" Well, M. le Vicomte, it has come at last," he said. 

" You have heard ? " 

" Buton told me." 

"What? Is he here?" I said in surprise. " I saw 
him at Cahors less than three hours ago." 

" Such news gives a man wings," Father Benoit 
answered with energy. " I say again, it has come. It 
has come, M. le Vicomte." 

" Something," I said prudently. 

" Everything," he answered confidently. " The mob 
took the Bastille, but who headed them ? The soldiers ; 
the Garde Fran9aise. Well, M. le Vicomte, if the army 
cannot be trusted, there is an end of abuses, an end of 


exemptions, of extortions, of bread famines, of Foulons 
and Berthiers, of grindinf^ the faces of the poor, of " 

The Cure's list was not half exhausted when I cut it 
short. "But if the army is with the mob, where will 
things stop ? " I said wearily. 

" We must see to that," he answered. 

" Come and sup with me," I said, " I have something 
to tell you, and more to ask you." 

He assented gladly. " For there will be no sleep for 
me to-night," he said, his eye sparkling. " This is great 
news, glorious news, M. le Vicomte. Your father would 
have heard it with joy." 

"And M. de Launay?" I said as I dismounted, 

"There can be no change without suffering," he 
answered stoutly, though his face fell a little. " His 
fathers sinned, and he has paid the penalty. But God 
rest his soul ! I have heard that he was a good man." 

" And died in his duty," I said rather tartly. 

"Amen," Father Benoit answered. 

Yet it was not until we were sat down in the Chestnut 
Parlour Twhich the servants called the l^jiiglish Boom), 
and, with candles between us, were busy with our cheese 
and fruit, that I appreciated to th(i full the impression 
which the news had made on llie Cure. Then, as he 
talked, as he told and listened, his long limbs and Ic^an 
form trembled with excitement ; liis tliiii face worked. 
"It is the end," ho said. "You may d(!p(MHl upon 
it, M. le Vicomt(!, it is tlu; end. Your fathci- told nu; 
many times tliat in money lay the secret of power. 
Money, he used to say, pays the ai-my, the army secures 
all. A while ago the money failed. Now tii(! army 
fails. There is nothing kift." 

" The King? " I said, unconsciously quoting Madame 
la Marquise. 

*' God bless his Majesty ! " l\n- C'ini' :iiisw(>rcd heartily. 


"He means well, and now he will be able to do well, 
because the nation will be with liim. Vy\xi without the 
nation, without money or an army — a name only. And 
the name did not save the Bastille." 

Then, beginning with the scene at Madame de St. 
Alais' reception, I told him all tliat had happened to 
me ; the oath of the sword, the debate in the Assembly, 
the tumult in the Square — :last of all, the harsh words 
with which Madame had given me my conge ; all. As 
he listened he was extraordinarily moved. When I 
described the scene in the Chamber, he could not be 
still, but in his enthusiasm, walked about the parlour, 
muttering. And, when I told him how the crowd had 
cried " Vive Saux .' " he repeated the words softly and 
looked at me with deliglited eyes. But when I came — 
halting somewhat in my speech, and colouring and 
playing with my bread to hide my disorder — to tell him 
my thoughts on the way home, and the choice that, as 
it seemed to me, was offered to me, he sat down, and 
fell also to crumblim: his bread and was silent. 




He sat silent so long, with his eyes on the table, that 
presently I grew nettled ; wondering what ailed him, 
and why he did not speak and say the things that I 
expected. I had been so confident of the advice he 
would give me, that, from the first, I had tinged my 
story with the appropriate colour. I had let my bitter- 
ness be seen ; I had suppressed no scornful word, but 
supplied him with all the ground he could desire for 
giving me the advice 1 supposed to be upon his lips. 

And yet he did not speak. A hundred times I had 
heard him declare his sympathy with the people, his 
hatred of the corruption, the selfishness, the abuses of 
the Government ; within the hour I had seen his eye 
kindle as he spoke of the fall of the Bastille. It was at 
his word I had burned the carcan ; at his instance I li;ul 
spent a large sum in feeding the village during the famine 
of the past year. Yet now — now, when I ex]K!cted 
him to rise up and bid me do my part, he was silent ! 

1 had to speak at last. "Well?" I said irritably. 
" Have you nothing to say, M. le Cure?" And I moved 
one of the candles so as to get a better view of his 
features. ]iiit he still looked down at the table, he still 
avoided my eye, his thin face thoughtful, his liiuid toying 
with the crumbs. 

At last, " M. le Vicomte," lie said softly, " thiough 
my motlK^r's niothei- I, too, am noble ". 


I gasped ; not at the fact with which I was famihar, 
but at the apphcatiou I thought he intended. "And 
for that," I said amazed, "you would " 

He raised his hand to stop nie. "No," he said gently, 
"I would not. Because, for all that, I am of the people 
by birth, and of the poor by my calling. But " 

" But what ? " I said peevishly. 

Instead of answering me he rose from his seat, and, 
taking up one of the candles, turned to the panelled 
wall behind him, on which hung a full-length portrait of 
my father, framed in a curious border of carved foliage. 
He read the name below it. "Antoine du Pont, Yicomte 
de Saux," he said, as if to himself. " He was a good 
man, and a friend to the poor. God keep him." 

He lingered a moment, gazing ai the grave, hand- 
some face, and doubtless recalling many things ; then 
he passed, holding the candle aloft, to another pic- 
ture which flanked the table : each wall boasted one. 
" Adrien du Pont, Yicomte de Saux," he read, " Colonel 
of the Regiment Flamande. He was killed, I think, at 
Minden. Knight of St. Louis and of the King's Bed- 
chamber. A handsome man, and doubtless a gallant 
gentleman. I never knew him." 

I answered nothing, but my face began to burn as he 
passed to a third picture behmd me. "Antoine du 
Pont, Vicomte de Saux," he read, holding up the candle, 
"Marshal and Peer of France, Knight of the King's 
Orders, a Colonel of the Household and of the King's 
Council. Died of the plague at Genoa in 1710. I 
think I have heard that he married a Eohan." 

He looked long, then passed to the fourth wall, and 
stood a moment quite silent. "And this one?" he 
said at last. " He, I think, has the noblest face of all. 
Antoine, Seigneur du Pont de Saux, of the Order of St. 
John of Jerusalem, Preceptor of the French tongue. 


Died at Valetta in the year after the Great Siege — of 
his wounds, some say ; of incredible labours and exer- 
tions, say the Order. A Christian soldier." 

It was the last picture, and, after gazing at it a 
moment, he brought the candle back and set it down 
with its two fellows on the shining table ; that, with 
the panelled walls, swallowed up the light, and left only 
our faces white and bright, with a halo round them, and 
darkness behind them. He bowed to me. " M. le 
Vicomte," he said at last, in a voice which shook a 
little, " you come of a noble stock." 

I shrugged my shoulders. " It is known," I said. 
" And for that ? '' 

" I dare not advise you." 

" But the cause is good ! " I cried. 

"Yes," he answered slowly. "I have been saying so all 
ray life. I dare not say otherwise now. But — the cause 
of the people is the people's. Leave it to the people." 

" You say that ! " I answered, staring at him, angry 
and perplexed. " You, who have told me a hundred 
times that I am of the people ! that the nobility are of 
the people ; that there are only two things in France, 
the King and the people." 

He smiled somewhat sadly ; tapping on the table 
with his fingers. " That was theory," he said. " I try 
to put it into practice, and my heart fails me. Because 
I, too, have a little nobility, M. le Vicomte, and know 
what it is." 

" I don't understand you," I said in despair. " You 
blow hot and cold, M. le Cure. I told you just now 
that I spoke for the people at the meeting of the noblesse, 
and you approved." 

" It was nobly done." 

"Yet now?" 

" I say the same thing," Father Benoit answered, his 



fine face illumined with feelin<^. " It was nobly done. 
Fight for the people, M. le Vicomte, hut among your 
fellows. Let your voice be heard there, where all you 
will gain for yourself will be obloquy and black looks. 
But if it comes, if it lias come, to a struggle l)etween 
your class and the commons, between the nobility and 
the vulgar ; if the noble must side with his fellows or 
take the people's pay, then "—Father Benoit's voice 
trembled a little, and his thin white hand tapped softly 
on the table — " I would rather see you ranked with 
your kind." 

" Against the people ? " 

" Yes, against the people," he answered, shrinking a 

I was astonished. " Why, great heaven," I said, " the 
smallest logic " 

" Ah ! " he answered, shaking his head sadly, and 
looking at me with kind eyes. " There you beat me ; 
logic is against me. Eeason, too. The cause of the 
people, the cause of reform, of honesty, of cheap grain, 
of equal justice, must be a good one. And who for- 
wards it must be in the riglit. That is so, M. le Vi- 
comte. Nay, more than that. If the people are left 
to fight their battle alone the danger of excesses is 
greater. I see that. But instinct does not let me act 
on the knowledge." 

"Yet, M. de Mirabeau?" I said. "I have heard 
you call him a great man." 

"It is true," Father Benoit answered, keeping his 
eyes on mine, while he drummed softly on the table 
with his fingers. 

" I have heard you speak of him with admiration." 

" Often." 

" And of M. de Lafayette ? " 



" And the Lameths ? " 

M. le Cure nodded. 

"Yet all these," I said stubbornly, "all those arc 
nobles — nobles leading the people ! " 

" Yes," he said. 

" And you do not blame them ? " 

"No, I do not blame them." 

" Nay, you admire them ! You admire them, Father," 
I persisted, glowering at him. 

" I know I do," he said. " I know that I am weak 
and a fool. Perhaps worse, M. le Vicomte, in that I 
have not the courage of my convictions. But, though 
I admire those men, though I think them great and to 
be admired, I have heard men speak of them who 
thought otherwise ; and — it may be weak — but I knew 
you as a boy, and I would not have men speak so of 
you. There are things we admire at a distance," he 
continued, looking at me a little drolly, to hide the 
affection that shone in his eyes, " which we, neverthe- 
less, do not desire to find in those we love. Odium 
heaped on a stranger is nothing to us ; on our friends, 
it were worse than death." 

He stopped, his voice trembling; and we were both 
silent for a while. Still, I would not let him soe how 
much his words had touclied me ; and by-and-by 

" ]^ut my father?" I said. "Tie was strongly on 
the side of reform ! " 

" Yes, by the nobles, for the people." 

"But the nobles have cast me out!" 1 answered. 
"Because I have gone a yard, I have lost all. Shall 
I not go two, and win all back?" 

" Win all," he said softly—" but lose how nnich?" 

"Yet if the people win? And you say they will?" 

" Kven then, Tribune of the Pcm|»1<>," ji.' imswcrcd 
gently, " ;i,iid an fxitcast ! " 


They were the very words I had applied to myself 
as I rode ; and I started. With sudden vividness 1 
saw the picture they presented ; and I understood why 
Father Benoit had hesitated so long in my case. With 
the purest intentions and the most upright heart, I 
could not make myself other than what I was ; I should 
rise, were my efforts crowned with success, to a point 
of splendid isolation ; suspected by the people, whose 
benefactor I had been, hated and cursed by the nobles 
whom I had deserted. 

Such a prospect would have been far from deterring 
some ; and others it might have lured. But T found 
myself, in this moment of clear vision, no hero. Old 
prejudices stirred in the blood, old traditions, born of 
centuries of precedence and privilege, awoke in the 
memory. A shiver of doubt and mistrust — such as, I 
suppose, has tormented reformers from the first, and 
caused all but the hardiest to flinch — passed through 
me, as I gazed across the candles at the Cure. I feared 
the people — the unknown. The howl of exultation, 
that had rent the air in the Market-place at Cahors, 
the brutal cries that had hailed Gontaut's fall, rang 
again in my ears. I shrank back, as a man shrinks 
who finds himself on the brink of an abyss, and through 
the wavering mist, parted for a brief instant by the 
wind, sees the cruel rocks and jagged points that wait 
for him below. 

It was a moment of extraordinary prevision, and 
though it passed, and speedily left me conscious once 
more of the silent room and the good Cure — who 
affected to be snufting one of the long candles — the 
effect it produced on my mind continued. After Father 
Benoit had taken his leave, and the house was closed, 
I walked for an hour up and down the walnut avenue ; 
now standing to gaze between the open iron gates that 


gave upon the road ; now turning my back on them, 
and staring at the grey, gaunt, steep-roofed house with 
its flanking tower and round tourelles. 

Henceforth, I made up my mind, I would stand 
aside. I would welcome reform, I would do in private 
what I could to forward it ; but I would not a second 
time set myself against my fellows. I had had the 
courage of my opinions. Henceforth, no man could 
say that I had hidden them, but after this I would stand 
aside and watch the course of events. 

A cock crowed at the rear of the house — untimely ; 
and across the hushed fields, through the dusk, came 
the barking of a distant dog. As I stood listening, 
while the solemn stars gazed down, the slight which 
St. Alais had put upon me dwindled — dwindled to 
its true dimensions. I thought of Mademoiselle Denise, 
of the bride I had lost, with a faint regret that was al- 
most amusement, ^^'llat would she think of this sudden 
rupture ? I wondered. Of this strange loss of her fiance ! 
Would it awaken her curiosity, her interest? Or would 
she, fresh from her convent school, think that things 
ill the world went commonly so— that fiances came 
and passed, and receptions found their natural end in 
riot ? 

I laughed softly, pleased that I had made up my 
mind. But, had I known, as I listened to the rustling 
of the poplars in the road, and the sounds that came 
(Hit of tlie darkened world beyond them, what was 
passing there — had I known tiiat, 1 should have felt 
«;ven greater satisfaction. Vov tliis was Wednesday, 
the '22nd of .Inly; aiul that niglit Taris still pal|»itatcd 
after viewing strange things. l"'or tin' first lime 
she iiad heard tlif liorrid ciy. " .t In /nii/rr/ir .' " and 
seen a man, old and white-headed, hangt-d, and tortured, 
until death freed him. Siie had seen another, the very 


Iiitendant of the City, flung down, trampled and torn 
to pieces in his own streets— pul)HcIy, in full day, in 
the presence of thousands. She had seen these things, 
trembling ; and other things also — things that had 
made the checks of reformers grow pale, and betrayed 
to all thinking men that below Lafaj^ette, below Bailly, 
below the Municipality and the Electoral Committee, 
roared and seethed the awakened forces of the Fau- 
bourgs, of St. Antoine, and St. Marceau ! 

What could be expected, what was to be expected, 
but that such outrages, remaining unpunished, should 
spread ? Within a week the provinces followed the lead 
of Paris. Already, on the 21st the mob of Strasbourg 
had sacked the Hotel de Ville and destroyed the 
Archives ; and during the same week, the Bastilles at 
Bordeaux and Caen were taken and destroyed. At 
Eouen, at Eennes, at Lyons, at St. Malo, were great 
riots, with fighting ; and nearer Paris, at Poissy, and 
St. Germain, the populace hung the millers. But, as 
far as Cahors was concerned, it was not until the 
astonishing tidings of the King's surrender reached us, 
a few days later — tidings that on the 17th of July he 
had entered insurgent Paris, and tamely acquiesced in 
the destruction of the Bastille — it was not until that 
news reached us, and hard on its heels a rumour of the 
second rising on the 22nd, and the slaughter of Foulon 
and Berthier — it was not until then, I say, that the 
country round us began to be moved. Father Benoit, 
with a face of astonishment and doubt, brought me the 
tidings, and we walked on the terrace discussing it. 
Probably reports, containing more or less of the truth, 
had reached the city before, and, giving men something 
else to think of, had saved me from challenge or moles- 
tation. But, in the country where I had spent the 
week in moody unrest, and not unfrequently reversing 


in the mornino- the decision at which I had arrived in 
the night, I had heard nothing until the Cure came — I 
think on the morning of the 29th of July. 

" And what do you think now? " I said thoughtfully, 
when I had listened to his tale. 

" Only what I did before," he answered stoutly. " It 
has come. ^A'ithout money, and therefore without 
soldiers who will fight, with a stai'ving people, with 
men's minds full of theories and abstractions, that all 
tend towards change, what can a Government do?" 

" Apparently it can cease to govern," I said tartly; 
" and that is not what any one wants." 

" There must be a period of unrest," he replied, but 
less confidently. " The forces of order, however, the 
forces of the law have always triumphed. I don't doubt 
that they will again." 

" After a period of unrest ? " 

"Yes," he answered. "After a period of unrest. 
And, I confess, I wish that we were through that. 
But we must he of good heart, M. le Vicomte. We 
nmst trust the people ; we must confide in their good 
sense, their capacity for government, their modera- 

I had to interrupt bin). " What is it, Gil?" I said 
with a gesture of apology. The servant had come out 
of the house and was waiting to speak to me. 

" M. Doury, M. le Vicomte, from Cahors," he 

"The inn-keeper?" 

" Yes, Monsicm- ; iiiid P>uti'n. Hiey ask to sec you." 

"Together?" 1 said, it seemed a strange conjunction. 

"Yes. Monsieur." 

" Well, show them here," I aiisvvci-cil, ;ifu;i- consult iiig 
my companion's face. "Jiut Doury ? I paid my hill. 
\\'hat can he want? " 


" We shall bee," Father Benoit answered, his eyes 
on the door. "Here they come. Ah! Now, M. le 
Vicomte," he continued in a lower tone, " I feel less 

I suppose he guessed something akin to the truth ; 
but for my part I was completely at a loss. The inn- 
keeper, a sleek, complaisant man, of whom, though I 
had known him some years, I had never seen much be- 
yond the crown of his head, nor ever thought of him 
as apart from his guests and his ordinary, wore, as he 
advanced, a strange motley of dignity and subservience ; 
now strutting with pursed lips, and an air of extreme 
importance, and now stooping to bow in a shame-faced 
and half-hearted manner. His costume was as great 
a surprise as his appearance, for, instead of his citizen's 
suit of black, he sported a blue coat with gold buttons, 
and a canary waistcoat, and he carried a gold-headed 
cane ; sober splendours, which, nevertheless, paled be- 
fore two large bunches of ribbons, white, red, and blue, 
which he wore, one on his breast, and one in his hat. 

His companion, who followed a foot or two behind, 
his giant frame and sun-burned face setting off" the 
citizen's plumpness, was similarly bedizened. But 
though be-ribboned and in strange company, he was 
still Buton, the smith. His face reddened as he met 
my eyes, and he shielded himself as well as he could 
behind Doury's form. 

" Good-morning, Doury," I said. I could have 
laughed at the awkward complaisance of the man's 
manner, if something in the gravity of the Cure's face 
had not restrained me. " What brings you to Saux ? " 
I continued. "And what can I do for you? " 

" If it please you, M. le Vicomte," he began. Then 
he paused, and straightening himself— for habit had 
bent his back — he continued abruptly, " Public busi- 


uess, Monsieur. And to have the honour of conferring 
\s'ith you on it." 

"With me?" I said, amazed. "On pubhc busi- 
ness ?" 

He smiled in a sickly way, but stuck to his text. 
" Even so, Monsieur," he said. " There are such great 
changes, and — and so great need of advice." 

'• That I ought not to wonder at M. Doury seeking 
it at Saux ? " 

"Even so, Monsieur." 

I did not try to hide my contempt and amusement ; 
but shrugged my shoulders, and looked at the Cure. 

" Well," I said, after a moment of silence, " and what 
is it ? Have you been selling bad wine ? Or do you 
want the number of courses limited by Act of the 
States General? Or " 

" Monsieui'," he said, drawing himself up with an 
attempt at dignity, "this is no time for jesting. In 
the present crisis inn-keepers have as much at stake 
as, with reverence, the noblesse ; and deserted by those 
who should lead them " 

"What, the inn-keepers?" I cried. 

He grew as red as a beetroot. " INI. Ic Aicomtc 
understands that I mean the people," he said stiffly. 
" Who deserted, I say, by their natural leaders " 

" For instance?" 

" M. le Due d'Artois, M. le I'rince do Conde, M. le 
Due de Polignac, M. " 

" Bah ! " I said. " How have they deserted ? " 

" Pardicu, Monsieui I I lave you not heard? " 

" Have I not heard wliat?" 

" That they liave left Fi'ance? Tlint (Hi th.' ni-lil of 
tlio 17tb, three days after the eaptiiie ul (lie llastille, 
the princes of the blo(Kl left France by stealth, 
and " 


" Impossible ! " I said. " Impossible ! Why should 
the}' leave? " 

" That is the very question, M. le Vicomte," he 
answered, with eager forwardness, " that is being 
asked. Some say that they thought to punish Paris 
by withdrawing from it. Some that they did it to 
show their disapproval of his most gracious Majesty's 
amnesty, which was announced on that day. Some 
that they stand in fear. Some even that they antici- 
pated Foulon's fate " 

"Fool!" I cried, stopping him sternly — fori found 
this too much for my stomach — " you rave ! Go back 
to your menus and your bouillis ! What do you know 
about State affairs ? Why, in my grandfather's time," 
I continued wrath fully, " if you had spoken of princes 
of the blood after that fashion, you would have tasted 
bread and water for six months, and been lucky had 
you got off unwhipped ! " 

He quailed before me, and forgetting his new part in 
old habits, muttered an apology. He had not meant to 
give offence, he said. He had not understood. Never- 
theless, I was preparing to read him a lesson when, to 
my astonishment, Buton intervened. 

"But, Monsieur, that is thirty years back," he said 

"Wliat, villain?" I exclaimed, almost breathless 
with astonishment, " what do you in this galere ? " 

" I am with him," he answered, indicating his com- 
panion by a sullen gesture. 

"On State business ? " 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

" Why, mon Dieu," I cried, staring at them between 
amusement and incredulity, "if this is true, why did 
you not bring the watch-dog as well ! And Farmer 
Jean's ram? And the good-wife's cat? And M. 
Doury's turnspit ? And " 


M. le Cure touched my arm. " Perhaps you had 
better hear what they have to say," he observed softly. 
" Afterwards, M. le Yicomte " 

I nodded sulkily. " What is it, then ? " I said. " Ask 
what you want to ask." 

" The Intendant has fled," Doury answered, recover- 
ing something of his lost dignity, "and we are forming, 
in pursuance of advice received from Paris, and follow- 
ing the glorious example of that city, a Committee ; a 
Committee to administer the affairs of the district. 
From that Committee, I, Monsieur, with my good 
friend here, have the honour to be a deputation." 

" With him?" I said, unable to control myself longer. 
'■ But, in heaven's name, what has he to do with the Com- 
mittee ? Or the affairs of the district ? " 

And I pointed with relentless finger at Buton, who 
reddened under his tan, and moved his huge feet un- 
easily, but did not speak. 

"He is a member of it," the inn-keeper answered, 
regarding his colleague with a side glance, which seemed 
to express anything but liking. " This Committee, to 
be as perfect as possible, Monsieur le Vicomte will 
understand, nmst represent all classes." 

" Even mine, I suppose," I said, with a sneer. 

"It is on that business we have come," he answered 
awkwardly. "To ask, in a word, M. lo Vicomte, that 
yon will allow yourself to be elected a inonibo-, and not 
only a member " 

" What elevation ! " 

" But President of the Committee." 

After all —it was 110 nnire than I hail been lorcwjeing ! 
It had (•(line suddenly, but in the main it was only that 
in 8ob(;r fact which 1 had fortiseen in a dream. Styled 
the mandate of the jxioph;, it had sounded well ; by the 
nioulh of ])oury, the inn-keeper, P)Ut()ii assessor, it 


jarred every nerve in nie. I say, it should not have 
surprised nie ; while such things were happening in the 
world, with a King who stood by and saw his fortress 
taken, and his servants killed, and pardoned the rebels ; 
with an Intendant of Paris slaughtered in his own 
streets ; with rumours and riots in every province, and 
flying princes, and swinging millers, there was really 
nothing wonderful in the invitation. And now, looking 
back, I find nothing surprising in it. I have lived to 
see men of the same trade as Doury, stand by the 
throne, glittering in stars and orders ; and a smith born 
in the forge sit down to dine with Emperors. But 
that July day on the terrace at Saux, the offer seemed 
of all farces the wildest, and of all impertinences the 
most absurd. 

" Thanks, Monsieur," I said, at last, when I had 
sufficiently recovered from my astonishment. " If I 
understand you rightly, you ask me to sit on the same 
Committee with that man ? " And I pointed grimly to 
Buton. " With the peasant born on my land, and sub- 
ject yesterday to my justice '? With the serf whom my 
fathers freed ? AVith the workman living on my wages ? " 

Doury glanced at his colleague. "Well, M. le 
Vicomte,"" he said, with a cough, " to be perfect, you 
understand, a Committee must represent all." 

" A Committee ! " I retorted, unable to repress my 
scorn. " It is a new thing in France. And what is 
the perfect Committee to do?" 

IJoury on a sudden recovered himself, and swelled with 
importance. " The Intendant has fled," he said, " and 
people no longer trust the magistrates. There are 
rumours of brigands, too ; and corn is required. With 
all this the Committee must deal. It must take 
measures to keep the peace, to supply the city, to satisfy 
the soldiers, to hold meetings, and consider future 


steps. Besides, M. le Vicomte," he continued, puffing 
out his cheeks, "it will correspond with Paris; it 
will administer the law ; it will " 

"In a word," I said quietly, "it will govern. Thc 
King, I suppose, having abdicated." 

Doury shrank bodily, and even lost some of his colour. 
"God forbid!" he said, in a whining tone. "It will 
do all in his Majesty's name." 

" And by his authority '? " 

The inn-keeper stared at me, startled and nonplussed ; 
and muttered something about the people. 

" Ah ! " I said. " It is the people who invite me to 
govern, then, is it ? With an inn-keeper and a peasant ? 
And other inn-keepers and peasants, I suppose ? To 
govern ! To usurp his Majesty's functions ? To super- 
sede his magistrates ; to bribe his forces? In a word, 
friend Doury," I continued suavely, "to commit treason. 
Treason, you understand?" 

The inn-keeper did ; and he wiped his forehead with 
a shaking hand, and stood, scared and speechless, look- 
ing at me piteously. A second time the blacksmith took 
it on himself to answer. 

" Monseigneur," he muttered, drawing his great black 
hand across his beard. 

" Butoii," I answered suavely, "permit me. For a 
man who aspires to govern the country, you are too 

"You have omitted one thing it is for the Com- 
mittee to do," the smith answered hoarsely, looking — 
like a timid, yet sullen, dog — anywhere but in my face. 

"And that is?" 

" To protect the Seigneurs." 

I stared at him, between aiigfr and surprise. This 
was a new light. After a pause, " P'roni whom'/"' I 
said curtly. 


" Their people," he answered. 

"Their Batons," I said. "T see. We are to be 
burned in our Invls, are we?" 

lie stood sulkily silent. 

" Thank you, Buton," 1 said. " And that is your 
return for a winter's corn. Thanks ! In this world 
it is profitable to do good ! " 

The man reddened through his tan, and on a sudden 
looked at me for the first time. " You know that you 
lie, M. le Vicomte ! " he said. 

"Lie, sirrah?" I cried. 

"Yes, Monsieur," he answered. "You know that I 
would die for the seigneur, as much as if the iron 
collar were round my neck ! That before fire touched 
the house of Saux it should bum me ! That I am my 
lord's man, alive and dead. But, Monseigneur," and, as 
he continued, he lowered his tone to one of earnestness, 
striking in a man so rough, " there are abuses, and 
there must be an end of them. There are tyrants, and 
they must go. There are men and women and children 
starving, and there must be an end of that. There is 
grinding of the faces of the poor, Monseigneur — not 
here, but everywhere round us — and there must be an 
end of that. And the poor pay taxes and the rich go 
free ; the poor make the roads, and the rich use them ; 
the poor have no salt, while the King eats gold. To 
all these things there is now to be an end — quietly, if 
the seigneurs will — but an end. An end, Monseigneur, 
though we burn chateaux," he added grimly. 




The unlooked-for eloquence whicli rang in the black- 
smith's words, and the assurance of his tone, no less 
than this startling disclosure of tlioughts with which I 
had never dreamed of crediting him, or any peasant, 
took me so aback for a moment that I stood silent. 
Doury seized the occasion, and struck in. 

" You see now, M. le Vicomte," he said complacently, 
" the necessity for such a Committee. The King's 
peace must be maintained." 

" I see," I answered harshly, " that there are violent 
men abroad, who were better in the stocks. Committee? 
Let the King's officers keep the King's peace ! The 
proper machinery " 

" It is shattered ! " 

The words were Doury's. The next moment he 
quailed at his presumption. " Then let it be repaired ! " 
I thundered. " Man Dlcu! that a set of tavern cooks 
and base-born rascals should go about the C(nnitry 
prating of it, and prating to me ! Go, I will have 
nothing to do with you or your Connnittee. Go, I 

" Nevertheless — a little patience, M. le Vicomte," 
he persisted, chagrin on liis pale face — "nevertheless, 
if any of the nobility would give us countenance, you 
most of all " 


" There would then be some one to hang instead of 
Doury ! " I answered bhnitly. " Some one behind 
whom he could shield himself, and lesser villains hide. 
But I will not be the stalking-horse." 

" And yet, in other provinces," he answered des- 
perately, his disappointment more and more pronounced, 
" M. de Liancourt and M. de Kochefoucauld have not 
disdained to " 

"Nevertheless, I disdain !" I retorted. "And more, 
I tell you, and I bid you remember it, you will have to 
answer for the work you are doing. I have told you it 
is treason. It is treason ; I will have neither act nor 
part in it. Now go." 

" There will be burning," the smith muttered. 

" Begone ! " I said sternly. " If you do not " 

"Before the morn is old the sky will be red," he 
answered. " On your head. Seigneur, be it ! " 

I aimed a blow at him with my cane ; but he avoided 
it with a kind of dignity, and stalked away, Doury fol- 
lowing him with a pale, hang-dog face, and his finery 
sitting very ill upon him. I stood and watched them 
go, and then I turned to the Cure to hear what he had 
to say. 

But I found him gone also. He, too, had slipped 
away ; through the house, to intercept them at the 
gates, perhaps, and dissuade them. I waited for him, 
querulously tapping the walk with my stick, and 
watching the corner of the house. Presently he came 
round it, holding his hat an inch or two above his head, 
his lean, tall figure almost shadowless, for it was noon. 
I noticed that his lips moved as he came towards me ; 
but, when I spoke, he looked up cheerfully. 

"Yes," he said in answer to my question, " I went 
through the house, and stopped them." 

" It would be useless," I said. " Men so mad as to 


think that they could rephice his Majesty's Government 
with a Committee of smiths and pastrycooks " 

"I have joined it," he answered, smihng faintly. 

"The Committee?" I ejaculated, breathless with 

" Even so." 

" Impossible ! " 

"Why?" he said quietly. " Have I not always pre- 
dicted this day? Is not this what Rousseau, with his 
Social Contract, SLnd Beaumarchais, with his 'Figaro,' 
and every philosopher who ever repeated the one, and 
every fine lady who ever aj^plauded the other, have been 
teaching? Well, it has come, and I have advised you, 
M. le Vicomte, to stand by your order. But I, a poor 
man, I stand by mine. And for the Committee of what 
seems to you, my friend, impossible people, is not any 
kind of government" — this more warmly, and as if he 
were arguing with himself — "better than none? Under- 
stand, Monsieur, the old machinery has broken down. 
The Intendant has fled. The people def}^ the magis- 
trates. The soldiers side with the people. The huis- 
siers and tax collectors are — the Good God knows 
where ! " 

"Then," I said indignantly, "it is time for the gentry 
to " 

"Take tbc lead mid govern?" he rejoined. "By 
whom? A liiindi'ul of servants and game-kt-e^xTS? 
AgainsL the people? against such a niob as you saw 
in the Square at Cahors ? Impossil)lc, Monsieur." 

" But the world seems to be turning upside down," 
I said helplessly. 

"The greater need of a strong unchanging holdfast — 
not of the world," he answered reverently; and lie lifted 
his hat a jnoin(;nt from his head and stood in thought. 
Then he continiuul : " However, the matter is this. I 


hear from Doury that the gentry are gathering at 
Cahors, with the view of combining, as you suggest, 
and checking the people. Now, it must be useless, and 
it may be worse. It may lead to the very excesses 
they would prevent." 

''In Cahors?" 

"No, in the country. Buton, be sure, did not speak 
without warrant. He is a good man, but he knows 
some who are not, and there are lonely chateaux in 
Quercy, and dainty women who have never known 
the touch of a rough hand, and — and children." 

" But," I cried aghast, " do you fear a Jacquerie? " 

'' God knows," he answered solemnly. " The fathers 
have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are 
set on edge. How many years have men spent at Ver- 
sailles the peasant's blood, life, bone, flesh ! To pay 
back at last, it may be, of their own ! But God 
forbid, Monsieur, God forbid. Yet, if ever — it comes 

When he was gone I could not rest. His words had 
raised a fever in me. What might not be afoot, what 
might not be going on, while I lay idle? And, presently, 
to quench my thirst for news, I mounted and rode out 
on the way to Cahors. The day was hot, the time 
for riding ill-chosen ; but the exercise did me good. I 
began to recover from the giddiness of thought into 
which the Cure's fears, coming on the top of Buton's 
warning, had thrown me. For a while I had seen 
things with their eyes ; I had allowed myself to be 
carried away by their imaginations ; and the prospect 
of a France ruled by a set of farriers and postillions had 
not seemed so bizarre as it began to look, now that I 
had time, mounting the long hill, which lies one league 


from Saux and two fioiu Cahors, to consider it calmly. 
For a moment, the wild idea of a whole gentry fleeing 
like hares before their peasantry, had not seemed so 
very wild. 

Now, on reflection, beginning to see thmgs in their 
normal sizes, I called myself a simpleton. A Jacquerie? 
Three centuries and more had passed since France had 
known the thing in the dark ages. Could any, save a 
child alone in the night, or a romantic maiden solitary 
in her rock castle, dream of its recurrence ? True, as 
I skirted St. Alais, which lies a little aside from the 
road, at the foot of the hill, I saw at the village-turning 
a sullen group of faces that should have been bent over 
the hoe ; a group, gloomy, discontented, waiting — 
waiting, with shock heads and eyes glittering under 
low brows, for God knows what. But I had seen such 
a gathering before ; in bad times, when seed was lack- 
ing, or when despair, or some excessive outrage on the 
part of the fermier, had driven the peasants to fold 
their hands and quit the fields. And always it had 
ended in nothing, or a hanging at most. Why should 
I suppose that anything would come of it lunv, or that 
a spark in Paris must kindle a fire here ? 

In fact, I as good as made up my mind ; and laughed 
at my simplicity. The Cure had let his predictions 
run away with him, and Teuton's ignorance and credulity 
had done the rest. What, T now saw, could be more 
absurd than to suppose that France, the first, the most 
stable, the most highly civilised of States, wherein for 
two centuries none had resisted the royal powtM- and 
stood, could become in a inonicnt tli(^ theatre of 
barbarous excesses V Wiiat more absurd tliun to con- 
ceive it turncnl into the Petit Tridito/i of a gang of 
rdturio'H and rjuuiillc .' 

At this point in my thoughts i l*r<»ki; olf, for, as L 


reached it, a coach came slowl}- over the ridge before 
me and began to descend the road. For a space it 
hnng clear-cut against the sky, the burly figure of the 
coachman and the heads of the two lackeys who swung 
behind it visible above the hood. Then it began to drop 
down cautiously towards me. The men behind sprang 
down and locked the wheels, and the lumbering vehicle 
slid and groaned downwards, the wheelers pressing 
back, the leading horses tossing their heads impatiently. 
The road there descends not in lacets, but straight, for 
nearly half a mile between poplars ; and on the summer 
air the screaming of the wheels and the jingling of the 
harness came distinctly to the ear. 

Presently I made out that the coach was Madame 
St. Alais' ; and I felt inclined to turn and avoid it. 
But the next moment pride came to my aid, and I 
shook my reins and went on to meet it. 

I had scarcely seen a person except Father Benoit 
since the affair at Cahors, and my cheek flamed at 
the thought of the rencontre before me. For the same 
reason the coach seemed to come on very slowly ; but 
at last I came abreast of it, passed the straining horses, 
and looked into the carriage with my hat m my hand, 
fearing that I might see Madame, hoping I might see 
Louis, ready with a formal salute at least. Politeness 
required no less. 

But sitting in the place of honour, instead of M. le 
Marquis, or his mother, or M. le Comte, was one 
little figure throned in the middle of the seat; a 
little figure with a pale inquiring face that blushed 
scarlet at sight of me, and eyes that opened wide 
w'ith fright, and lips that trembled piteously. It was 
Mademoiselle ! 

Had I known a moment earlier that she was in the 
carriage and alone, I should have passed by in silence ; 


as was doubtless my dutj' after what had happened. I 
was the last person who should have intruded on her. 
But the men, grinning, I dare say, at the encounter — 
for probabh' ^Madame's treatment of me was the talk of 
the house — had drawn up, and I had reined up instinc- 
tively ; so that before I quite understood that she was 
alone, save for two maids who sat with their backs to 
the horses, we were gazing at one another — like two 
fools ! 

" Mademoiselle ! " I said. 

" Monsieur ! " she answered mechanically. 

Now, when I had said that, I had said all that I had 
a right to say. I should have saluted, and gone on with 
that. But something impelled me to add — " Made- 
moiselle is going — to St. Alais?" 

Her lips moved, but I heard no sound. She stared at 
me like one under a spell. The elder of her women, 
however, answered for her, and said briskly : — 

" Ah, oui, Monsieur ". 

"And Madame de St. Alais?" 

" Madame remains at Cahors," the woman answered 
in the same tone, " with M. le Marquis, who has busi- 

Then, at any rate, I sliould have gone on; \>u\ the 
girl sat looking at me, silent and blushing; and some- 
thing in the picture, something in the thought of her 
arriving alone and unprotected at St. Alais, taken with 
a niciMory of the lowering faces i had seen in the village, 
imperiled me to stand and hnger; and fiiiMJly to bliut 
out what I had in my mind. 

"Mademoiselle," I said miiiulsively, ignoring her 
attendants, " if you will take; my advice — you will not 
go on." 

One of the women muttered " .V*/ fni!" under her 
breath. The other said ' In(l<<<l!" .ind tossed her 


head impertinently. But Mademoiselle found her 

"Why, Monsieur?" she said clearly and sweetly, 
her eyes wide with a surprise that for the moment 
overcame her shyness. 

" Because," I answered diffidently — I repented already 
that I had spoken — "the state of the country is such — 
I mean that Madame la Marquise scarcely understands 
perhaps that — that " 

" What, Monsieur?" Mademoiselle asked primly. 

" That at St. Alais," I stammered, "there is a good 
deal of discontent, Mademoiselle, and " 

"At St. Alais?" she said. 

" In the neighbourhood, I should have said," I 
answered awkwardly. " And — and in fine," I con- 
tinued very much embarrassed, "it would be better, in 
my poor opinion, for Mademoiselle to turn and " 

" Accompany Monsieur, perhaps ? " one of the women 
said ; and she giggled insolently. 

Mademoiselle St. Alais flashed a look at the offender, 
that made me wink. Then with her cheeks burning, 
she said : — 

"Drive on!" 

I was foolish and would not let ill alone. "But, 
Mademoiselle," I said, " a thousand pardons, but " 

"Drive on!" she repeated; this time in a tone, 
which, though it was still sweet and clear, was not to 
be gainsaid. The maid who had not offended — the 
other looked no little scared — repeated the order, the 
coach began to move, and in a moment I was left in 
the road, sitting on my horse with my hat in my hand, 
and looking foolishly at nothing. 

The straight road running down between lines of 
poplars, the descending coach, lurching and jolting as 
it went, the faces of the grinning lackeys as they looked 


back at me through the dust — I well remember them 
all. They form a picture strangely vivid and distinct 
in that gallery where so many more important have 
faded into nothingness. I was hot, angry, vexed with 
myself; conscious that I had trespassed beyond the 
becoming, and that I more than deserved the repulse 
I had suffered. But through all ran a thread of a new 
feeling — a quite new feeling. Mademoiselle's face 
moved before my eyes — showing through the dust ; 
her eyes full of dainty surprise, or disdain as delicate, 
accompanied me as I rode. I thought of her, not of 
Baton or Doury, the Committee or the Cure, the heat 
or the dull road. I ceased to speculate except on the 
chances of a peasant rising. That, that alone assumed 
a new and more formidable aspect ; and became in a 
moment imminent and probable. The sight of INIadc^- 
moiselle's childish face had given a reality to Buton's 
warnings, which all the Cure's hints had failed to im- 
part to them. 

So much did the thought now harass me, that to 
escape it I shook up my horse, and cantered on, Gil and 
Andre following, and wondering, doubtless, why I did 
not turn. But, wholly taken up with the horrid visions 
which the blacksmith's words had called up, I took no 
lieed of time until I awoke to find inys(df more than 
half-way on the road to Cahors, which lies thi'(H! leagues 
and a miic! from Saux. Then I di-ew rein aiul stood in 
the road, in a lit of excitement and indecision. 
Within the half-hour I might be at ^Madame St. Alais' 
door in Cahors, and, whatever happemd I hem, I shmild 
have no need to reproach myself. Hi in ,1 little moic I 
might be at home, ingloriously safe. 

Which was it to be? The moment, though I did 
not know it, was fateful. On the one hand, RfathMiioi- 
seiie's face, her l)eauty, li<i itiiioccnce, her hcljilcss- 


ness, pleaded with iiio strangely, and dragged nie on to 
give the warning. On the other, my pride urged me 
to retmii, and avoid such a reception as I had every 
reason to expect. 

In the end I went on. In less than half an hour I 
had crossed the Valandre bridge. 

Yet it must not be supposed that I decided without 
doubt, or went forward without misgiving. The taunts 
and sneers to which Madame had treated me were too 
recent for that ; and a dozen times pride and resentment 
almost checked my steps, and I turned and went home 
again. On each occasion, however, the ugly faces and 
brutish eyes I had seen in the village rose before me ; 
I remembered the hatred in which Gargouf, the St. 
Alais' steward, was held ; I pictured the horrors that 
might be enacted before help could come from Cahors ; 
and I went on. 

Yet with a mind made up to lidicule ; which even 
the crowded streets, when I reached them, failed to re- 
lieve, though they wore an unmistakable air of excite- 
ment. Groups of people, busily conversing, were every- 
where to be seen ; and in two or three places men were 
standing on stools — in a fashion then new to me — 
haranguing knots of idlers. Some of the shops were 
shut, there were guards before others, and before the 
bakehouses. I remarked a great number of journals 
and pamphlets in men's hands, and that where these 
were, the talk rose loudest. In some places, too, my 
appearance seemed to create excitement, but this was 
of a doubtful character, a few greeting me respectfully, 
while more stared at me in silence. Several asked me, 
as I passed, if I brought news, and seemed disappointed 
when I said I did not ; and at two points a handful of 
people hooted me. 

This angered me a little, but I forgot it in a thing 


still more surprising. Presently, as I rode, I heard my 
name called ; and turning, found M. de Gontaut hurry- 
ing after me as fast as his dignity and lameness would 
permit. He leaned, as usual, on the arm of a servant, 
his other hand holding a cane and snuff-box ; and two 
stout fellows followed him. I had no reason to suppose 
that he would appreciate the service I had done him 
more highly, or acknowledge it more gratefully, than 
on the day of the riot ; and my surprise was great when 
he came up, his face all smiles. 

" Nothing, for months, has given me so much plea- 
sure as this," he said, saluting me with overwhelming 
cordiality. " By my faith, M. le Vicomte, yon have 
outdone us all ! You will have such a reception yonder! 
and you have brought two good knaves, I see. It is 
not fair," he continued, nodding his head with senile 
jocularity. " I declare it is not fair. But you know 
the text? 'There is more joy in lioaven over one 

sinner that repenteth than ' Ha ! ha ! Well, we 

must not be jealous. You have taught them a lesson ; 
and now we are united." 

"But, M. le Baron," I said in amazement, as, 
obeying his gesture, I moved on, while he limped 
jauntily beside me, " I do not understand you in the 
least ! " 

"You don't?" 

" No ! " I said. 

"Ah! you did nf)t think that we should hear it so 
soon," he replied, sluiking Ins head sagely. "Oh. I can 
tell ycm we are well jjrovidcd. 'PIk; canijjiiign lias be- 
gun, and the infornuition (!( i»;ii t nn-nt has not l)een 
neglected. Jjittle escapes us. imd we shall soon set 
these rogues right., I'm)- tlir fin'l. (li;il .l;iinncd 
rascal Doury let it out. I hear you l-'ld tli<ni some line 
home-truths. .\ Coninuttcc, the insoients ! And in 


our teetli ! But yon gave them a sharp sot-back, T 
hear, M. le Vicomte. If you had joined it, now " 

He stopped abruptly. A man crossing the street had 
sHglitly jostled him. The old noble lost his temper, 
and on the instant raised his stick with a passionate 
oath, and the man cowered away begging his pardon. 
But jM. de Gontaut was not to be appeased. 

"Vagabond ! "" he cried after him, in a voice trembling 
with rage, " 3'ou would throw me down again, would 
you? We will put you in yonr place by-and-by. We 
will; why, Dieu! when I was young " 

" But, M. le Baron," I said to divert his attention, 
for two or three bystanders were casting ugly looks at 
us, and I saw that it needed little to bring about a 
fracas, "are you quite sure that we shall be able to keep 
them in check? " 

The old noble still trembled, but he drew himself up 
with a gesture of pathetic gallantry. 

"You shall see ! " he cried. "When it comes to hard 
knocks, you shall see. Monsieur. But here we are ; 
and there is Madame St. Alais on the balcony with some 
of her bodyguard." He paused to kiss his hand, with 
the air of a Polignac. " Up there, M. le Vicomte, you 
will see what you will see," he continued. "And I — I 
shall be in luck, too, for I have brought you," 

It seemed to me more like a dream than a reality. A 
fortnight before, I had been spurned from this house 
with insults; I had been bidden never to enter it again. 
Now, on the balconies, from which pretty faces and 
powdered heads looked down, handkerchiefs fluttered 
to greet me. On the stairs, which, crowded with ser- 
vants and lackeys, shook under the constant stream of 
comers and goers, I was received with a hum of ap- 
plause. In every corner snuff-boxes were being tapped 
and canes handled ; the flashing of roguish eyes behind 


fans vied with the gHtter of mirrors. And through all 
a lane was made for me. At the door Louis met me. 
A little farther on, Madame came half-way across the 
room to me. It was a triumph — a triumph which I 
found inexplicable, unintelligible, until I learned that 
the rebuff which I had administered to the deputation 
had been exaggerated a dozen times, nay, a hundred 
times, until it met even the wishes of the most violent; 
while the sober and thoughtful were too glad to hail 
in my adhesion the proof of that reaction, which the 
Royalist party, from the first day of the troubles, never 
ceased to expect. 

No wonder that, taken by surprise and intoxicated 
with incense, I let myself go. To have declared in 
that company and with Madame's gracious words in 
my ears, that I had not come to join them, that I had 
come on a different errand altogether, that though I 
had repelled the deputation I had no intention of acting 
against it, would have required a courage and a liaid- 
ness I could not boast ; while the circumstances of the 
deputation, Doury's presumption and Buton's hints. 
to say nothing of the violence of the Parisian mob, had 
not failed to impress me unfavourably. With a thou- 
sand others who had prepared themselves to welcome 
reform, I recoiled when I saw the lengths to which it 
was tending; and, thougli nothing li;id hctii linther 
from my mind when I (entered Cahors than l<> join 
myself to the St. Alais faction, 1 found it iinpossihlc 
to reject their apologies on the spot, or explain on ihc 
instant tlic; i"eal pui'pos(; witli whic-h I had come to 

I was, in fact, the sport of circumstances; weak, it 
will be said, in the wrong place and stubborn m th(^ 
wrong; betraying a boy's petulance at onc^ tune, ami a 
boy's fickleness at anotlier; and now a tool and now a 


(.'lunl. Perhaps truly. But it was a time of trial ; nor 
was I the only man or the oldest man who, in those 
days, changed his opinions, and again within the week 
went back ; or who found it hard to find a cockade, 
white, black, red or tricolour, to his taste. 

Besides, flattery is sweet, and I was young ; more- 
over, I had Mademoiselle in my head and nothing could 
exceed Madame's graciousness. I think she valued me 
the more for my late revolt, and prided herself on my 
reduction in proportion as I had shown myself able to 

" Few words are better, M. le Vicomte," she said, 
with a dignity which honoured me equally with her- 
self. " Many things have happened since I saw you. 
We are neither of us quite of the same opinion. Forgive 
me. A woman's word and a man's sword do no dis- 

I bowed, blushing with pleasure. After a fortnight 
spent in solitude these moving groups, bowing, smiling, 
talking in low, earnest tones of the one purpose, the 
one aim, had immense influence with me. I felt the 
contagion. I let Madame take me into her confidence. 

" The King" — it was always the King with her — " in 
a week or two the King will assert himself. As yet his 
ear has been abused. It will pass ; in the meantime 
we must take our proper places. We must arm our 
servants and keepers, repress disorder and resist en- 

"And the Committee, Madame?" 

She tapped me, smiling, with the ends of her dainty 

" We will treat it as you treated it," she said. 

"You think that you will be strong enough?" 

"We," she answered. 

" We ? " I said, correcting myself with a blush. 


"Why not? How can it be otherwise?" she re- 
phed, looking proudly round her. " Can you look round 
and doubt it, M. le Vicomte ? " 

"But France?" I said. 

" We are France," she retorted with a superb ges- 

And certainly the splendid crowd that iilled her rooms 
was almost warrant for the words ; a crowd of stately 
men and fair women such as I have only seen once or 
twice since those days. Under the surface there may 
have been pettiness and senility ; the exhaustion of 
vice ; jealousy and lukewarmness and dissension ; but 
the powder and patches, the silks and velvets of the 
old regime, gave to all a semblance of strength, and at 
least the appearance of dignity. If few were soldiers, 
all wore swords and could use them. The fact that 
the small sword, so powerful a weapon in the duel, is 
useless against a crowd armed with stones and clubs 
had not yet been made clear. Nothing seemed more 
easy than for two or three hundred swordsmen to rule 
a province. 

At any rate I found nothing but what was feasible 
in the noti(jii ; and witli little real reluctance, if no 
groat enthusiasm, 1 pinned on the white cockade. Put- 
ting all thoughts of present refoiin fi-om my mind, T 
agreed that order — o)der was the one [)ressiiig need of 
the country. 

On that all were agreed, and all were lio])i,'rul. L 
heard no misgivings, but a good deal of vapouring, in 
which poor M. de Gontaut, with the palsy almost n|»on 
liim, li:ul his part. No one dropped a liinl nf danger 
in the country, or of a rcjvolt of (li<' |)easantH. iOven to 
ine, as I stood in the brilliant crowd, the danger grew 
to seem Sf) remote, and lun-eal, that, delicacy as W(>11 as 
the fear of ridicule, kept me silent. 1 could not speak 


of Madumoisollu without awkwardness, and so the 
warning which I had come to give died on my hps. I 
saw that I should be laughed at, I fancied myself de- 
ceived, and I was silent. 

It was only when, after promising to return next day, 
I stood at the door prepared to leave, and found myself 
alone with Louis, that I let a word fall. Then I asked 
him with a little hesitation if he thought that his sister 
was quite safe at St. Alais. 

" Why not ? " he said easily, with his hand on my 

" The trouble is not in the town only," I hinted. 
" Nor perhaps the worst of the trouble." 

He shrugged his shoulders. " You think too much 
of it, mon cher," he answered. " Believe me, now that 
we are at one the trouble is over." 

And that was the evening of the 4th of August, 
the day on which the Assembly in Paris renounced at 
a single sitting all immunities, exemptions, and privi- 
leges, all feudal dues, and fines, and rights, all tolls, all 
tithes, the salt tax, the game laws, capitaineries ! At 
one sitting, on that evening ; and Louis thought that 
the trouble was over ! 




At that time, a brazier in the market-place, and three 
or fom" lanterns at street crossings, made up the most of 
the public lighting. When I paused, therefore, to breathe 
my horse on the brow of the slope, beyond the Valandre 
bridge, and looked back on Cahors, I saw only darkness, 
broken here and there by a blur of yellow light ; that 
still, by throwing up a fragment of wall or eaves, told in 
a mysterious way of the sleeping city. 

The river, a faint, shimmering line, conjectured rather 
than seen, wound round all. Above, clouds were flying 
across the sky, and a wind, cold for the time of year — 
cold, at least, after the heat of the day — chilled the 
blood, and slowly filled the mind with the solemnity of 

As I stood listening to the breathing of the horses, 
the excitement in which I had passed the last few hours 
died away, and left me wondering — wondering, and a 
little regretful. The exaltation gone, I found the scene 
i had just left flavourless ; I even presently began to 
find it worse. Some false note in the cynical, boastful 
voices and the selfish — the utterly selfish- plans, to 
wliich I had been listening for hours, made itsc^lf heard 
in the stillness. Madame's " We are J^' ranee," wlnCli 
had sound(!d well amid the lights and glitto' of tiic 
fiulon, aUKMig laces and frijxnis and rose-pink coats, 
seemed folly in the face of the infinite; night, behind 
which lay twenty-five millions of Frenchmen. 


However, what I had done, I had done. I had the 
white cockade on my breast ; I was pledged to order — 
and to my order. And it might be the better course. 
But, with reflection, enthusiasm faded ; and, by some 
strange process, as it faded, and the scene in which I 
had just taken part lost its hold, the errand that had 
brought me to Cahors recovered importance. As 
Madame St. Alais' influence grew weak, the memory of 
Mademoiselle, sitting lonely and scared in her coach, 
grew vivid, until I turned my horse fretfully, and en- 
deavoured to lose the thought in rapid movement. 

But it is not so easy to escape from oneself at night, 
as in the day. The soughing of the wind through the 
chestnut trees, the drifting clouds, and the sharp ring of 
hoofs on the road, all laid as it were a solemn finger on 
the pulses and stilled them. The men behind me talked 
in sleepy voices, or rode silently. The town lay a 
hundred leagues behind. Not a light appeared on the 
upland. In the world of night through which we rode, 
a world of black, mysterious bulks rising suddenly 
against the grey sky, and as suddenly sinking, we were 
the only inhabitants. 

At last we reached the hill above St. Alais, and I 
looked eagerly for lights in the valley ; forgetting that, 
as it wanted only an hour of midnight, the village would 
have retired hours before. The disappointment, and 
the delay — for the steepness of the hill forbade any but 
a walking pace — fretted me ; and when I heard, a 
moment later, a certain noise behind me, a noise I knew 
only too well, I flared up. 

" Stay, fool ! " I cried, reining in my horse, and turn- 
ing in the saddle. " That mare has broken her shoe 
again, and you are riding on as if nothing were the 
matter ! Get down and see. Do you think that 
I " 


" PardoD, Monsieur," Gil muttered. He had been 
sleeping in his saddle. 

He scrambled down. The mare he rode, a valuable 
one, had a knack of breaking her hind shoe ; after 
which she never failed to lame herself at the first 
opportunity. Buton had tried every method of shoeing, 
but without success. 

I sprang to the ground while he lifted the foot. My 
ear had not deceived me ; the shoe was broken. Gil 
tried to remove the jagged fragment left on the hoof, 
but the mare was restive, and he had to desist. 

" She cannot go to Saux in that state," I said angrily. 

The men were silent for a moment, peering at the 
mare. Then Gil spoke. 

" The St. Alais forge is not three hundred yards down 
the lane, Monsieur," he said. " And the turn is yonder. 
We could knock up Petit Jean, and get him to bring his 
pincers here. Only " 

" Only what ? " I said peevishly. 

"I quarrelled with him at Cahors Fair, Monsieur," 
Gil answered sheepishly ; " and he might not come for 

" Very well," I said gruffly, " I will go. And do you 
stay here, and keep the mare quiet." 

Andre held the stirrup for me to iiiount. The smithy, 
the first hovel in the village, was a quarter of a mile 
away, and, in reason, I should have ridden to it. l-Jut, 
in my irritation, I was ready to do anything they did 
not propose, and, roughly rejecting his help, I started on 
foot. Fifty paces brought me to the branch road that 
led to St. Alais, and, making out the turning with a 
little difficulty, I )ilini^'<<l into it ; losing, in n nionicnt, 
the cheerful sound of jingling bits and the mininur of 
the men's voices. 

J'oplars rose on high banks on citiicr side (jf the lane, 



and made the place as dark as a pit, and I had ahiiost to 
grope ray way. A stumble added to my irritation, and 
I cursed the St. Alais for the ruts, and the moon for its 
untimely setting. The ceaseless whispering of the 
poplar leaves went with me, and, in some unaccountable 
way, annoyed me. I stumbled again, and swore at Gil', 
and then stopped to listen. I was in the road, and yet 
I heard the jingling of bits again, as if the horses were 
following me. 

I stopped angrily to listen, thinking that the men had 
disobeyed my orders. Then I found that the sound 
came from the front, and was heavier and harder than 
the ringing of bit or bridle. I groped my way forward, 
wondering somewhat, until a faint, ruddy light, shinmg 
on the darkness and the poplars, prepared me for the 
truth — welcome, though it seemed of the strangest — that 
the forge was at work. 

As I took this in, I turned a corner, and came within 
sight of the smithy ; and stood in astonishment. The 
forge was in full blast. Tv/o hammers were at work ; 
I could see them rising and falling, and hear, though 
they seemed to be muffled, the rhythmical jarring clang 
as they struck the metal. The ruddy glare of the fire 
flooded the road and burnished the opposite trees, and 
flung long, black shadows on the sky. 

Such a sight filled me with the utmost astonishment, 
for it was nearly midnight. Fortunately something 
else I saw astonished me still more, and stayed my foot. 
Between the point where I stood by the hedge and 
the forge a number of men were moving, and flitting to 
and fro ; men with bare arms and matted heads, half- 
naked, with skins burned black. It would have been 
hard to count them, they shifted so quickly ; and I did 
not try. It was enough for me that one half of them 
carried pikes and pitchforks, that one man seemed to be 


detailing them into groups, and giving them directions ; 
and that, notwithstanding the occasional jar of the 
hammers, an air of ferocious stealth marked their 

For a moment I stood rooted to the spot. Then, in- 
stinctivel}', I stepped aside into the shadow of the hedge, 
and looked again. The man who acted as the leader 
carried an axe on his shoulder, the broad blade of which, 
as it caught the glow of the furnace, seemed to be bathed 
in blood. He was never still — this man. One moment 
he moved from group to group, gesticulating, ordering, 
e;icouraging. Now he pulled a man out of one troop 
and thrust him forcibly into another ; now he made a 
little speech, which was dumb play to me, a hundred 
paces away ; now he went into the forge, and his huge 
bulk for a moment intercepted the light. It was Petit 
Jean, the smith. 

I made use of the momentary darkness which he 
caused on one of these occasions, and stole a little 
nearer. For I knew now what was before me. I knew 
perfectly that all this meant blood, fire, outrage, 
flames rising to heaven, screams startling the stricken 
night ! But I must know more, if I would do anything. 
1 went nearer therefore, creeping along the hedge, and 
crouching in the ditch, until no more than twelve yards 
separated me from the muster. 'Yhaw 1 stood still, as 
Petit Jean came out again, to distribute another bundle 
of weapons, clutched instantly and eag(;rly by grimy 
hands. I could hear now, and I slniddered at wbat 1 
hrard. Gargouf was in every moutli. Gaigouf, the St. 
Alais' Ht<jward, c(;upled with grisly tortures and slow 
deatliH, witli old sins, and outrages, and tyrannies, now 
for the first time voiced, n<»w to be expiated ! 

At last, one man laid th(! torch by crying aloud, " To 
the Cbiitcau I To the Chateau ! " ;ind in an instant tlir 

loo THE Ri:n cockade. 

words chanfTed the feelings with which I had hitherto 
stared into iininediate horror. I started forward. My 
impulse, for a moment, was to step into the hght and 
confront them — to persuade, menace, cajole, tarn them 
any way from their purpose. But, in the same moment, 
rejection showed me tlie hopelessness of the attempt. 
These were no longer peasants, dull, patient clods, such 
as I had known all my life ; but maddened beasts ; I 
read it in their gestures and the growl of their voices. 
To step forward would be only to sacrifice myself ; and 
with this thought I crept back, gained the deeper 
shadow, and, turning on my heel, sped down the lane. 
The ruts and the darkness were no longer anything to 
me. If I stumbled, I did not notice it. If I fell, it was 
no matter. In less than a minute I was standing, 
breathless, by the astonished servants, striving to tell 
them quickly what they must do. 

" The village is rising ! " I panted. " They are going 
to burn the Chateau, and Mademoiselle is in it ! Gil, 
ride, gallop, lose not a minute, to Cahors, and tell M. le 
Marquis. He must bring wliat forces he can. And do 
you, Andre, go to Saux. Tell Father Benoit. Bid him 
do his utmost — bring all he can." 

For answer, they stared, open-mouthed, through the 
dusk. " And the mare. Monsieur ? " one asked at last 

" Fool ! let her go !" I cried. " The mare ? Do you 
understand "? The Chateau is " 

" And you, Monsieur ? " 

" I am going to the house by the garden wing. 
Now go ! Go, men ! " I continued. " A hundred livres 
to each of you if the house is saved ! " 

I said the house because I dared not speak what was 
really in my mind ; because I dared not picture the girl, 
young, helpless, a woman, in the bands of those 


mousters. Yet it was that which goaded me now, it 
was that which gave me such strength that, before the 
men had ridden many yards, I had forced my way 
through the thick fence, as if it had been a mass of 
cobwebs. Once on the other side, in the open, I hastened 
across one field and a second, skirted the vilhige, and 
made for the gardens which abutted on the east wing of 
the Chateau. I knew these well ; the part farthest from 
the house, and most easy of entrance, was a wilder- 
ness, in which I had often played as a child. There 
was no fence round this, except a wooden paling, and 
none between it and the more orderly portion ; while a 
side door opened from the latter into a passage leading 
to the great hall of the Chateau. The house, a long, 
regular building, reared by the Marquis's father, was 
composed of two wings and a main block. All faced 
the end of the village street at a distance of a hundred 
paces ; a wide, dusty, ill-planted avenue leading from 
the iron gates, which stood always open, to the state 

The rioters had only a shoit distance to go, therefore, 
and no obstacle between them and the house ; none 
when they reached it of greater consequence than ordi- 
nary doors and shutters, should the latter be closed. As 
I ran, I shuddered to think how defenceless all lay ; and 
how quickly the wretches, bursting in the doors, would 
overrun the shining parquets, and sweep up the spacious 

The thought added wings to my feet. 1 had I'aitliei- 
to go than tli(;y had, and over hedges, but btjfore the 
first sounds of their approach reached the house 1 was 
already in the wilderness, and forcing my way tlirough 
it, stunililing over stumps and bushes, falling more; than 
once, covered with dust and sweat, but still [)usliing on. 

At last I sj)rang into the. open garden, willi its 


shadowy walks, and nymphs, and fauns ; and looked to- 
wards the village. A dull red light was beginning to 
show among the trunks of the avenue ; a murmur of 
voices sounded in the distance. They were coming ! I 
wasted no more than a single glance ; then I ran down 
the walk, between the statues. In a moment I passed 
into the darker shadow under the house, 1 was at the 
door. I thrust my shoulder against it. It resisted ; it 
resisted ! and every moment was precious. I could no 
longer see the approaching lights nor hear the voices of 
the crowd— the angle of the house intervened ; but I 
could imagine only too vividly how they were coming 
on ; I fancied them already at the great door. 

I hammered on the panels with my fist ; then I 
fumbled for the latch, and found it. It rose, but the 
door held. I shook it. I shook it again in a frenzy ; 
at last, forgetting caution, I shouted— shouted more 
loudly. Then, after an age, as it seemed to me, stand- 
ing panting in the darkness, I heard halting footsteps 
come along the passage, and saw a hne of light grow, 
and brighten under the door. At last a quavering voice 

asked : — 

"Who is it?" 

" M. de Saux," I answered impatiently. " M. de 

Saux ! Let me in. Let me in, do you hear ? " And 

I struck the panels wrathfuUy. 

" Monsieur," the voice answered, quavering more and 

more, " is there anything the matter ? " 

" Matter? They are going to burn the house, fool ! " 

I cried. " Open ' open ! if you do not wish to be burned 

in your beds ! " 

For a moment I fancied that the man still hesitated. 

Then he unbarred. In a twinkling I was inside, in a 

narrow passage, with dingy, stained walls. An old man, 

lean -jawed and feeble, an old valet whom I had often 


seen at worsted work in the ante-room, confronted me, 
holding an iron candlestick. The light shook in his 
hands, and his jaw fell as he looked at me. I saw that 
I had nothing to expect from him, and I snatched the 
bar from his hands, and set it back in its place myself. 
Then I seized the light. 

" Quick ! " I said passionately. " To your mistress." 


" Upstairs ! Upstairs ! " 

He had more to say, but I did not wait to hear it. 
Knowing the way, and having the candle, I left him, 
and hurried along the passage. Stumbling over three 
or four mattresses that lay on the floor, doubtless for 
the servants, I reached the hall. Here my taper shone 
a mere speck in a cavern of blackness ; but it gave me 
light enough to see that the door was barred, and I 
turned to the staircase. As I set my foot on the lowest 
step the old valet, who was following me as fast as his 
trembling legs would carry him, blundered against a 
spinning-wheel that stood in the hall. It fell with a 
clatter, and in a moment a chorus of screams and cries 
broke out above. I sprang up the stairs three at a 
stride, and on the lobby came on tlie screamers — 
a terrified group, whose alarm the doubtful light of 
a tallow candle, that stood beside them on the floor, 
could not exaggerate. Nearest to me stood an old 
footman and a boy — their terror-stricken eyes met 
mine as I mounted the last stairs. Jichind them, and 
crouching against a tapestry-covered seat that ran along 
the wall, were the rest; three or four women, who 
shrieked and hid their faces in one another's garments. 
They did not look nj) or take any heed of me ; but 
continued to scream steadily. 

The old rniui with a (iniivcring oath tried to still 


" Where is Gargouf ?" I asked him. 

'* He has gone to fasten the back doors, Monsieur," 
he answered. 

" And Mademoiselle ? " 

" She is yonder." 

He turned as he spoke ; and I saw behind liini a 
heavy curtain hiding the oriel window of the lobby. It 
moved while I looked, and Mademoiselle emerged from 
its folds, her small, childish face pale, but strangely 
composed. She wore a light, loose robe, hastily ar- 
ranged, and had her hair hanging free at her back. 
In the gloom and confusion, which the feeble candles 
did little to disperse, she did not at first see me. 

" Has Gargouf come back ? " she asked. 

" No, Mademoiselle, but " 

The man was going to point me out ; she interrupted 
him with a sharp cry of anger. 

" Stop these fools," she said. " Oh, stop these fools ! 
I cannot hear myself speak. Let some one call Gar- 
gouf ! Is there no one to do anything ? " 

One of the old men pottered off to do it, leaving her 
standing in the middle of the terror-stricken group ; a 
white pathetic little figure, keeping fear at bay with 
both hands. The dark curtains behind threw her face 
and form into high relief ; but admiration was the last 
thought in my mind. 

" Mademoiselle," I said, " you must fly by the garden 

She started and stared at me, her eyes dilating. 

" Monsieur de Saux," she muttered. " Are you 
here ? I do not — I do not understand. I thought " 

"The village is rising," I said. " In a moment they 
will be here." 

" They are here already," she answered faintly. 

She meant only that she had seen their approach from 

THE ALARM. 1 05 

the window ; but a dull murmur that at the moment 
rose on the air outside, and penetrating the walls, grew 
each instant louder and more sinister, seemed to give 
another significance to her words. The women listened 
with white faces, then began to scream afresh. A reck- 
less movement of one of them dashed out the nearer of 
the two lights. The old man who had admitted me 
began to whimper. 

"0 mon Dieu!" I cried fiercely, "can no one still 
these cravens ? " For the noise almost robbed me of 
the power of thought, and never had thought been 
more necessary. " Be still, fools," I continued, " no 
one will hurt you. And do you, Mademoiselle, please 
to come with me. There is not a moment to be lost. 
The garden by which I entered " 

But she looked at me in such a way that I stopped. 

"Is it necessary to go?" she said doubtfully. "Is 
there no other way. Monsieur ? " 

The noise outside was growing louder. " What men 
have you? " I said. 

"Here is Gargouf," she answered promptly. "He 
will tell you." 

I turned to the staircase and saw the stcwai'd's face, 
at all times harsh and grim, rising out of the well of 
the stairs. He had a candle in one hand and a pistol 
in the other ; and his features as his eyes met mine 
wore an expression of dogged anger, the sight of which 
drew fresh cries from the women. J^»nt f rejoiced to 
see him, for he at least betrayed no signs of lliiichiiig. 
I asked him what men ho had. 

" You see them," Ik; answered diily, bcLrayiiig Jiu 
surprise at ni}' [)resence. 

•'Only these?" 

"There were three more," he said. " P<Mt 1 found the 
doors unbarred, and the men gone. I am keeping 


this," he continued, with a dark glance at his pistol, " for 
one of them." 

" Mademoiselle must go ! " I said. 

lie shrugged his shoulders with an indifference that 
maddened me. " How? " he asked. 

" By the garden door." 

" They are there. The house is surrounded." 

I cried out at that in despair ; and on the instant, as 
if to give point to his words, a furious blow fell on the 
great doors below, and awakening every echo in the 
house, proclaimed that the moment was come. A 
second shock followed ; then a rain of blows. While 
the maids shrieked and clung to one another, I looked 
at Mademoiselle, and she at me. 

" We must hide you," I muttered. 

"No," she said. 

"There must be some place," I said, looking round 
me desperately, and disregarding her answer. The 
noise of the blows was deafening. " In the " 


" I will not hide, Monsieur," she answered. Her 
cheeks were white, and her eyes seemed to flicker with 
each blow. But the maiden who had been dumb before 
me a few days earlier was gone ; in her place I saw 
Mademoiselle de St. Alais, conscious of a hundred an- 
cestors. " They are oar people. I will meet them," 
she continued, stepping forward bravely, though her lip 
trembled. " Then if they dare " 

" They are mad," I answered. " They are mad ! Yet 
it is a chance ; and we have few ! If I can get to them 
before they break in, I may do something. One moment. 
Mademoiselle; screen the light, will you?" 

Some one did so, and I turned feverishly and 
caught hold of the curtain. But Gargouf was before 
me. He seized my arm, and for the moment checked 


"What is it? What are you going to do?" he 

" Speak to them from the window." 

"They will not listen." 

" Still I will try. ^Yhat else is there ? " 

" Lead and iron," he answered in a tone that made me 
shiver. " Here are M. le Marquis's sporting guns ; they 
shoot straight. Take one, M. le Vicomte ; I will take 
the other. There are two more, and the men can shoot. 
We can hold the staircase, at least." 

I took one of the guns mechanically, amid a dismal 
uproar ; wailing and the thunder of blows within, out- 
side the savage booing of the crowd. No help could 
come for another hour ; and for a moment in this 
desperate strait my heart failed me. I wondered at the 
steward's courage. 

"You are not afraid?" I said. I knew how he had 
trampled on the poor wretches outside ; how he had 
starved them and ground them down, and misused them 
through long years. 

He cursed the dogs. 

" You will stand by Mademoiselle ? " I said feverishly. 
1 think it was to hearten myself by his assurance. 

He squeezed my hand in a grip of iron, and I asked 
no more. In a moment, however, I cried aloud. 

" Ah, but they will burn the house ! " I said. " What 
is the use of holding the staircase, when they can burn 
us like rats ? " 

" We shall die together," was his only answer. And 
ho kicked one of tlie weeping, crouching women, "lie 
still, you whelp ! " he said. " Do you think that will 
help you ? " 

But I heard the door below groan, iind I sprang to 
the window and dragged aside the curtain, letting in a 
ruddy glow that dyed the ceiling the colour of blood. 


My one fear was that I might be too late ; that the door 
would yield or the crowd break in at the back before I 
could get a hearing. Luckily, the casement gave to 
the hand, Jind I tlnnist it open, and, meeting a cold 
blast of air, in a twinkling was outside, on the narrow 
ledge of the window over the great doors, looking down 
on such a scene as few chateaux in France had wit- 
nessed since the days of the third Henry — God be 
thanked ! 

A little to one side the great dovecot was burning, 
and sending up a trail of smoke that, blown across the 
avenue, hid all beyond in a murky reek, through which 
the flames now and again flickered hotly. Men, busy 
as devils, black against the light, were plying the fire 
with straw. Beyond the dovecot, an outhouse and a 
stack were blazing ; and nearer, immediately before the 
house, a crowd of moving figures were hurrying to and 
fro, some battering the doors and windows, others 
bringing fuel, all moving, yelling, laughing — laughing 
the laughter of fiends to the music of crackling flames 
and shivering glass. 

I saw Petit Jean in the forefront giving orders ; and 
men round him. There were women, too, hanging on 
the skirts of the men ; and one woman, in the midst of 
all, half-naked, screaming curses, and brandishing her 
arms. It was she who added the last touch of horror 
to the scene ; and she, too, who saw me first, and 
pointed me out with dreadful words, and cursed me, 
and the house, and cried for our blood. 




Some called for silence, while others stared at me 
stupidly, or pointed me out to their fellows ; but the 
greater part took up the woman's cry, and, enraged by 
my presence, shook their fists at me, and shouted vile 
threats and viler abuse. For a minute the air rang 
willi ''A has !es Seigneurs f A has Ics tyrcDin!" And 
I found this bad enough. But, presently, whether they 
caught sight of the steward, or merely returned to 
their first hatred, from which my appearance had only 
for the moment diverted them, the cry changed to a 
sullen roar of " Gargouf ! Gargouf ! " A roar so full of 
the lust for blood, and coupled with threats so terrible, 
that the heart sickened and the cheek grew pale at the 

"Gargouf! Gargouf! Give us Gargouf!" tliey 
howled. " Give us Gargouf! and he shall eat hot gold ! 
Give us Gargouf, and he shall need no more of our 
daughters ! " 

I shudd(!r(;d to tiiiiik tluit iMademoiscllu heard ; shud- 
dered to think of tlie peril in which sIk; stood. The 
wretches below were no longer men ; uudci' the in- 
fluence of this frenzied woman they were mad hrute 
beasts, drunk with fire and licence. As the smoke 
from tlic bmnin;,' building eddied away for a mMinrnt 
across tiie crowd and hid it, uml slill IJiat lioarsc; cry 


came out of the mirk, I could believe that I heard not 
men, but maddened hounds raving in the kennel. 

Again the smoke drifted away ; and some one in the 
rear shot at me. I heard the glass splinter beside me. 
Another, a little nearer, flung up a burning fragment 
that, alighting on the ledge, blazed and spluttered by 
my foot. I kicked it down. 

The act, for the moment, stilled the riot, and I 
seized the opportunity. "You dogs! " I said, striving 
to make my voice heard above the hissing of the flames. 
" Begone ! The soldiers from Cahors are on the road. 
I sent for them this hour back. Begone, before they 
come, and I will intercede for you. Stay, and do 
further mischief, and you shall hang, to the last 
man ! " 

Some answered with a yell of derision, crying out 
that the soldiers were with them. More, that the 
nobles were abolished, and their houses given to the 
people. One, who was drunk, kept shouting, " A has 
la Bastille ! A has la Bastille ! " with a stupid 

A moment more and I should lose my chance. I 
waved my hand ! " What do you want ? " I cried. 

" Justice ! " one shouted, and another, " Vengeance ! " 
A third, " Gargouf ! " And then all, " Gargouf ! Gar- 
gouf !" until Petit Jean stilled the tumult. 

" Have done ! " he cried to them, in his coarse, brutal 
voice. "Have we come here only to yell? And do 
you, Seigneur, give up Gargouf, and you shall go free. 
Otherwise, we will burn the house, and all in it." 

" You villain ! " I said. " We have guns, and " 

" The rats have teeth, but they burn ! They burn ! " 
he answered, pointing triumpliantly, with the axe he 
held, to the flaming buildings. " They burn ! Yet 
listen, Seigneur," he continued, " and you shall have a 


minute to make up your minds. Give up Gargouf to 
us to do with as we please, and the rest shall go." 


" All." 

I trembled. "But Gargouf, man?" I said. "Will 
you — wliat will you do with him ? " 

"Roast him!" the smith cried, with a fearful oath; 
and the wretches round him laughed like fiends. 
" Boast him, when we have plucked him bare." 

I shuddered. From Cahors help could not come for 
another hour. From Saux it might not come at all. 
The doors below me could not stand long, and these 
brutes were thirty to one, and mad with the lust of 
vengeance. With the wrongs, the crimes, the vices of 
centuries to avenge, they dreamed that the day of 
requital was come ; and the dream had turned clods 
into devils. The verj'^ flames they had kindled gave 
them assurance of it. The fire was in their blood. A 
bas la Bastille ! A has les tyrans ! 

I hesitated. 

" One minute ! " the smith cried, with a boastful 
gesture — " one miinite we give you ! Gargouf or all." - 

" Wait ! " 

I turned and went in — turned from the smoky glare, 
the circling pigeons, the grotesque black figures, and tbe 
terror and confusion of the night, and went in to that 
other scene scarcely less dreadful to me ; though only 
two candles, guttering in tin sockets, lit the landing, 
and it borrowed from the outside no more than the 
ruddy reflection of horror. The women bad ceased to 
scream and sob, and crowded togcither silent and panic- 
stricken. The old men and the lad moistened their 
lips, and looked furtively from the anus tliey handled 
to one another's faces. Madomoisello alone stood erect, 
pale, firm. I shot a glance at the slender little figim! 


in tlie white robe, then T looked away. T dared not 
say what I had in my mind. T knew that she had 
lieard, and — — 

Sh{^ said it! "You have answered them?" she 
muttered, her eyes meeting mine. 

" No," I said, looking away again. " They have 
given us a minute to decide, and " 

"I heard them," she answered shivering. "Tell 

"But, Mademoiselle " 

"Tell them never! Never!" she cried feverishly. 
" Be quick, or they will think that we are dreaming of 

Yet I hesitated — while the flames crackled outside. 
What, after all, was this rascal's life beside hers? 
What his tainted existence, who all these years had 
ground the faces of the poor and dishonoured the 
helpless, beside her youth? It was a dreadful moment, 
and I hesitated. " Mademoiselle," I muttered at last, 
avoiding her eyes, "you have not thought, perhaps. 
But to refuse this offer may be to sacrifice all — and not 
save him." 

" I have thought ! " she answered, with a passionate 
gesture. " I have thought. But he was my father's 
steward, Monsieur, and he is my brother's ; if he has 
sinned, it was for them. It is for them to pay the 
penalty. And — after all, it may not come to that," she 
continued, her face changing, and her eyes seeking 
mine, full of sudden terror. " They will not dare, I 
think. They will never dare to " 

"Where is he?" I asked hoarsely. 

She pointed to the corner behind her. I looked, and 
could scarcely believe my eyes. The man whom I had 
left full of a desperate courage, prepared to sell his life 
dearly, now crouched a li addled figure in the darkest 



angle of the tapestry seat. Though I had spoken of 
him in a low voice, and without naming him, he heard 
me, and looked up, and showed a face to match his 
attitude ; a face pallid and sweating with fear ; a face 
that, vile at the best and when redeemed by hardihood, 
looked now the vilest thing on earth, del/ that fear 
should reduce a man to that ! He tried to speak as his 
eyes met mine, but his lips moved inaudibly, and he 
only crouched lower, the picture of panic and guilt. 

I cried out to the others to know what had happened 
to him. " What is it ? " I said. 

No one answered ; and then I seemed to know. 
While he had thought all in danger, while he had felt 
himself only one among many, the common courage of 
a man had supported him. But God knows what 
voices, only too well known to him, what accents of 
starving men and wronged women, had spoken in that 
fierce cry for his life ! What plaints from the dead, 
what curses of babes hanging on dry breasts ! At anj^ 
rate, whatever he had heard in that call for his blood, 
his blood — it had unmanned him. In a moment, in a 
twinkhng, it had dashed him baclv into this corner, a 
trembling craven, holding up his hands for his life. 

Such fear is infectious, and I strode to liiiii in a rage 
and shook him. 

" Get up, hound ! " I said. " Get up and strike a 
blow for your life ; or, by heaven, no one else will ! " 

He stood up. " Yes, yes. Monsieur," ho muttered. 
" I will ! 1 will stand up for Mademoiselle. I will " 

l>ut I heard bis teeth chatter, and I saw that his eyes 
wandered this way and that, as do a hare's when (he 
dogs close on it ; and 1 knew that 1 had nothing to 
expect from him. A howl outside warned me at the 
same inonKUit that our respite was spent ; and I lliuig 
him ofT and turnod to the window. 



Too late, however ; before I could reach it, a thunder- 
inj]; blow oil the doors below set the candles flickering 
and the women shrieking ; then for an instant I thought 
that all was over. A stone came through the window ; 
another followed it, and another. The shattered glass 
fell over us ; the draught put out one light, and the 
women, terrified beyond control, ran this way and that 
with the other, shrieking dismally. This, the yelling 
of the crowd outside, the sombre light and more sombre 
glare, the utter confusion and panic, so distracted me, 
that for a moment I stood irresolute, inactive, looking 
wildly about me ; a poltroon waiting for some one to 
lead. Then a touch fell on my arm, and I turned iuid 
found Mademoiselle at my side, and saw her face up- 
turned to mine. 

It was white, and her eyes were wide with the terror 
she had so long repressed. Her hold on me grew 
heavier ; she swayed against me, clinging to me. 

" Oh ! " she whispered in my ear in a voice that went 
to my heart. " Save me ! Save me ! Can nothing be 
done? Can nothing be done, Monsieur? Must we 

" AVe must gain time," I said. My courage returned 
wonderfully, as I felt her weight on my arm. " All is 
not over yet," I said. "I will speak to them." 

And setting her on the seat, I sprang to the window 
and passed through it. Outside, things at a first 
glance seemed unchanged. The wavering flames, the 
glow, the trail of smoke and sparks, all were there. 
But a second glance showed that the rioters no longer 
moved to and fro about the fire, but were massed 
directly below me in a dense body round the doors, 
waiting for them to give way, I shouted to them 
frantically, hoping still to delay them. I called Petit 
Jean by name. But I could not make myself heard 



in the uproar, or they would not heed ; and while I 
vainly tried, the great doors yielded at last, and with 
a roar of triumph the crowd burst in. 

Not a moment was to be lost. I sprang back 
through the window, clutching up as I did so the gun 
Gargouf had given me ; and then I stood in amaze- 
ment. The landing was empty ! The rush of feet 
across the hall below shook the house. Ten seconds 
and the mob, whose screams of triumph already echoed 
through the passages, would be on us. But where was 
Mademoiselle? Where was Gargouf? Where were 
the servants, the waiting-maids, the boy, whom I had 
left here ? 

I stood an instant paralysed, like a man in a night- 
mare ; brought up short in that supreme moment. 
Then, as the first crash of heavy feet sounded on the 
stairs, I heard a faint scream, somewhere to my light, 
as I stood. On the instant I sprang to the door which, 
on that side, led to the left wing. I tore it open and 
passed through it — not a moment too soon. The 
slightest delay, and the foremost rioters must have 
seen me. As it was I had time to turn the key, which, 
fortunately, was on the inside. 

Then I hurried across tlie room, making my way 
to an open door at the fartlier end, from wliicli liglit 
issued ; I passed through the room beyond, which was 
empty, then into the last of the suite. 

Here I found the fugitives; wlio had ilcd so ])r('ci))i- 
tatoly that they had not fvcn thought of closing the 
doors behind them, in ihis last refuge — Madanic's 
boudoir, nil white; and gold — I found th(;m crouching 
among gilt-l)ack(!d (-hairs and flowered cushions. They 
had brought only '»nc candle with them ; ;iiid I he silks 
and gcw-gaws and knick-knacks on which its hj^lit 
shone dimly, gave a peculiar horror to their whih; faces 


and f^laring eyes, as, almost mad with terror, they 
huddlod in the farthest corner and stared at me. 

They were such cowards that they put Mademoiselle 
foremost ; or it was she who stood out to meet me. 
She knew me l)efore they did, therefore, and quieted 
them. When 1 could hear my own voice, I asked 
where Gargouf was. 

They had not discovered that he was not with them, 
and they cried out, saying that he had come that way. 

" You followed him ? " 

" Yes, Monsieur." 

This explained their flight, but not the steward's 
absence. What matter where he had gone, however, 
since his help could avail little. I looked round — 
looked round in despair ; the very simpering Cupids 
on the walls seemed to mock our danger. I had the 
gun, I could fire one shot, I had one life in my hands. 
But to what end? In a moment, at any moment, 
within a minute or two at most, the doors would be 
forced, and the horde of mad brutes would pour in 
upon us, and 

" Ah, Monsieur, the closet staircase ! He has gone 
by the closet staircase ! " 

It was the boy who spoke. He alone of them had 
his wits about him. 

" Where is it ? " I said. 

The lad sprang forward to show me, but Mademoiselle 
was before him with the candle. She fiew back into 
the passage, a passage of four or five feet only between 
that room and the second of the suite; in the wall of 
this she flung open a door, apparently of a closet. I 
looked in and saw the beginning of a staircase. My 
heart leapt at the sight. 

" To the floor above ? " 1 said. 

" No, Monsieur, to the roof! " 

CrARGOUF. 117 

" Up, up, then ! " I cried in a frenzy of impatience. 
" It will give us time. Quick. They are coming." 

For I heard the door at the end of the suite, the door 
I had locked, creak and yield. They were forcing it, 
at any moment it might give ; where I stood waiting 
to bring up the rear, their hoarse cries and curses came 
to my ears. But the good door held ; it held, long 
enough at any rate. Before it gave wa}^ we were on 
the stairs and I had shut the door of the closet behind 
me. Then, holding to the skirts of the woman before 
me, I groped my way up quickly — up and up through 
darkness with a close smell of bats in my nostrils — and 
almost before I could believe it, I stood with the 
panting, trembling group on the roof. The glare of the 
burning outhouses below shone on a great stack of 
chimneys beside us and reddened the sky above, and 
burnished the leaves of the chestnut trees that rose on 
a level with our eyes. But all the lower part of the 
steep roofs round us, and the lead gutters that ran 
between them, lay in darkness, the denser for the 
contrast. The flames crackled below, and a thick reek 
of smoke swept up past the coping, but the noise alike 
of fire and riot was deadened here. The night wind 
cooled our brows, and I had a minute in which to 
think, to Vjreathe, to look round. 

"Is there any other way to the roof?" I asked 

" One other, Monsieur ! " 

"Where? Or do you stay here, and guard this 
door," I said, pressing my gun on the man who had 
answered. "And let the boy come and show mo. 
Mademoiselle, stay there if you please." 

The boy ran before me to the fartlier cihI of the loof, 
and in a lead walk, between two slopes, sliowed me a 
large trap-door. Ii liad 110 fastening on the outside, 


and for a moment I stood nonplussed; then I saw, a 
few I'cet awa5^ a neat pile of bricks, left there, I learned 
afterwards, in the course of some repairs. I began to 
remove them as fast as I could to the trap-door, and 
the boy saw and followed my example ; in two minutes 
we had stacked a hundred and more on the door. 
TeUing him to add another hundred to the number, I 
left him at the task and flew back to the women. 

They might burn the house under us ; that always, 
and for certain, and it meant a dreadful death. Yet I 
breathed more freely here. In the white and gold 
room below, among Madame's mirrors and Cupids, and 
silken cushions, and painted Venuses, my heart had 
failed me. The place, with its heavy perfumes, had 
stifled me. I had pictured the brutish peasants burst- 
ing in on us there — on the screaming women, crouch- 
ing vainly behind chairs and couches ; and the horror 
of the thought overcame me. Here, in the open, under 
the sky, we could at least die fighting. The depth 
yawned beyond the copmg ; the weakest had here no 
more to fear than death. Besides we had a respite, for 
the house was large, and the fire could not lick it up in 
a moment. 

And help might come. I shaded my eyes from the 
light below, and looked into the darkness in the direc- 
tion of the village and the Cahors road. In an hour, 
at furthest, help might come. The glare in the sky 
must be visible for miles ; it would spur on the 
avengers. Father Benoit, too, if he could get help — 
he might be here at any time. We were not without 

Suddenly, while we stood together, the women 
sobbing and whimpering, the old man-servant spoke. 

"Where is M. Gargouf ? " he muttered under his 


" Ah ! " I exclaimed ; " I had forgotten him." 

" He came up," the man continued, peering ahout 
him. " This door was open, M. le Vicomtc. when we 
came to it." 

" Ah ; then where is he ? " 

I looked round too. All the roof, I have said, was 
dark, and not all of it was on the same level ; and here 
and there chimneys broke the view. In the obscurity, 
the steward might be lurking close to us without our 
knowledge ; or he might have thrown himself down 
in despair. While I looked, the boy whom I had left 
by the bricks came flying to us. 

" There is some one there ! " he said. And he clung 
to the old man in terror. 

" It must be Gargouf I " I answered. " Wait here ! " 
And, disregarding the women's prayers that I would 
stay with them, I went quickly along the leads to the 
other trap-door, and peered about me through the 
gloom. P'or a moment I could see no one, though the 
light shining on the trees made it easy to discern 
figures standing nearer the coping. Presently, how- 
ever, I caught the sound of some one moving ; some 
one who was farther away still, at the very edge of the 
roof. I went on cautiousl}', expecting I do not know 
what ; and close to a stack of chimneys I found Gargouf. 

He was crouching on the coping in the darkest part, 
where the end wall of the east wing overlooked the 
garden by wiiich I had entered. This end wall had no 
windows, and the greater part of the garden below it 
lay it darkness ; the angle of the house standing 
between it and the burning buildings. I supposed that 
the steward had sneaked hither, therefore, to hide ; 
and set it down to the darkness that he did not know 
me, but, as I approached, he rose on his knees (ni tlic 
ledge, and turned on me, snarlnig hke a dog. 


" Stand back ! " he said, in a voice that was scarcely 
human. " Stand back, or I will " 

" Steady, man," I answered quietly, beginning to 
think that fear had unhinged him. "It is I, M. 
de Saux." 

" Stand back !" was his only answer; and, though he 
cowered so low that I could not get his figure against 
the shining trees, I saw a pistol-barrel gleam as he 
levelled it. " Stand back ! Give me a minute ! a 
minute only" — and his voice quavered — "and I will 
cheat the devils yet ! Come nearer, or give the alarm, 
and I will not die alone ! I will not die alone ! Stand 
back ! " 

" Are you mad ? " I said. 

" Back, or I shoot!" he growled. " I will not die 

He was kneeling on the very edge, with his left hand 
against the chimney. To rush upon him in that posture 
was to court death ; and I had nothing to gain by it. I 
stepped back a pace. As I did so, at the moment I did 
so, he slid over the edge, and was gone ! 

I drew a deep breath and listened, flinching and 
drawing back involuntarily. But I heard no sound 
of a fall ; and in a moment, with a new idea in my 
mind, I stepped forward to the edge, and looked over. 

The steward hung in mid-air, a dozen feet below me. 
He was descending ; descending foot by foot, slowly, 
and by jerks ; a dim figure, growing dimmer. Instinc- 
tively I felt about me ; and in a second laid my hand 
on the rope by which he hung. It was secured round 
the chimney. Then I understood. He had conceived 
this way of escape, perhaps had stored the rope for it 
beforehand, and, like the villain he was, had kept the 
thought to himself, that his chance might be the better, 
and that he might not have to give the first place to 

CARGO UF. 121 

Mademoiselle and the women. In the first heat of 
the discovery, I almost found it in mj^ heart to cut the 
rope, and let him fall ; then I remembered that if he 
escaped, the way would lie open for others ; and then, 
even as I thought this, into the garden below me, there 
shone a sudden flare of light, and a stream of a dozen 
rioters poured round the corner, and made for the door 
by which I had entered the house. 

I held my breath. The steward, hanging below me, 
and by this time half-way to the ground, stopped, and 
moved not a limb. But he still swung a little this way 
and that, and in the strong light of the torches which 
the new-comers carried, I could see every knot in the 
rope, and even the trailing end, which, as I looked, 
moved on the ground with his motion. 

The wretches, making for the door, had to pass 
within a pace of the rope, of that trailing end ; yet it 
was possible that, blinded by the lights they carried, 
and their own haste and excitement, they might not 
see it. I held my breath as the leader came abreast of 
it; I fancied that he must see it. But he passed, and 
disappeared in the doorway. Three others passed the 
rope together. A fifth, then three more, tw(i more ; I 
began to breathe more freely. Only one remained — a 
woman, the same whose imprecations had greeted me 
on my appearance at the window. It was not likely 
that she would see it. She was running to overtake 
the others; she carried a flare in li<r right liiind, so 
that the blaze came between her and tlu; rope. .And 
slie was waving IIk; liglit in a mad woman's lien/y, 
as she danced along, hounding on tlie men to tlie 

But, as if the presence of the man who bad wnuigcd 
her had ov(!r her some subtle infhiencc — aH if some 
sense, unowned by others, warned lier of his presence, 


even in tlie midst of that babel and tumult — she stopped 
short under him, with her foot almost on the threshold. 
I saw her head turn slowly. She raised her eyes, hold- 
inf]^ the torch aside. She saw him ! 

With a scream of joy, she sprang to the foot of the 
rope, and began to haul at it as if in that way she might 
get to him sooner ; while she filled the air with her 
shrieks and laughter. The men, who had gone into 
the house, heard her, and came out again ; and after 
them others. I quailed, where I knelt on the parapet, 
as I looked down and met the wolfish glare of their 
upturned eyes ; what, then, must have been the 
thoughts of the wretched man taken in his selfishness — 
hanging there helpless between earth and heaven ? God 

He began to climb upwards, to return ; and actually 
ascended hand over hand a dozen feet. But he had 
been supporting himself for some minutes, and at that 
point his strength failed him. Human muscles could 
do no more. He tried to haul himself up to the next 
knot, but sank back with a groan. Then he looked at 
me. " Pull me up ! " he gasped in a voice just audible. 
" For God's sake ! For God's sake, pull me up ! " 

But the wretches below had the end of the rope, and 
it was impossible to raise him, even had I possessed 
the strength to do it. I told him so, and bade him 
climb — climb for his life. In a moment it would be 
too late. 

He understood. He raised himself with a jerk to the 
next knot, and hung there. Another desperate effort, 
and he gained the next ; though I could almost hear 
his muscles crack, and his breath came in gasps. 
Three more knots — they were about a foot apart — and 
he would reach the coping. 

But as he turned up his face to me, I read despair in 

GARGOUF. 1 2-; 

his eyes. His strength was gone ; and while he hung 
there, the men hegan, with shouts of laughter, to shake 
the rope this way and that. He lost his grip, and, 
with a groan, slid down three or four feet; and again 
got hold and hung there — silent. 

By this time the group below had grown into a crowd 
— a crowd of maddened beings, raving and liowling, and 
leaping up at him as dogs leap at food ; and the horror 
of the sight, though the doomed man's features were 
now in shadow, and I could not read them, overcame 
me. I rose to draw back — shuddering, listening for his 
fall. Instead, before I had quite retreated, a hot flash 
blinded me, and almost scorched my face, and, as the 
sharp report of a pistol rang out, the steward's body 
plunged headlong down — leaving a. little cloud of smoke 
where I stood. 

He had balked his enemies. 




It was known afterwards that they fell upon the body 
and tore it, like the dogs they were ; but I had seen 
enough. I reeled back, and for a few moments leaned 
against the chiuniey, trembling like a woman, sick and 
faint. The horrid drama had had only one spectator — 
myself; and the strange solitude from which I had 
viewed it, kneeling at the edge of the roof of the Cha- 
teau, with the night wind on my brow and the tumult 
far below me, had shaken me to the bottom of my soul. 
Had the ruffians come upon me then I could not have 
lifted a finger ; but, fortunately, though the awakening 
came quickly, it came by another hand. I heard the 
rustle of feet behind me, and, turning, found Mademoi- 
selle de St. Alais at my shoulder, her small face grey 
in the gloom. 

" Monsieur," she said, " will you come ? " 

I sprang up, ashamed and conscience-stricken. I had 
forgotten her, all, in the tragedy. "What is it?" I said. 

"The house is burning." 

She said it so cahnly, in such a voice, that I could 
not believe her, or that I understood ; though it was 
the thing I had told myself must happen. "What, 
Mademoiselle? This house?" I said stupidly. 

"Yes," she replied, as quietly as before. "The 
smoke is rising through the closet staircase. I think 
that they have set the east wing on fire." 


I hastened back with her, but before I reached 
the Httle door by which we had ascended I saw that 
it was true. A faint, whitish eddy of smoke, scarcely 
visible in the dusk, was rising through the crack be- 
tween door and lintel. \\lien we came up the women 
were still round it watching it ; but while I looked, 
dazed and wondering what we were to do, the group 
melted away, and Mademoiselle and I were left alone 
beside the stream of smoke that grew each moment 
thicker and darker. 

A few moments before, immediately after my escape 
from the rooms below, I had thought that I could face 
this peril ; anything, everything, had then seemed 
better than to be caught with the women, in the con- 
finement of those luxurious rooms, perfumed with poudre 
de rose, and lieavy with jasmine — to be caught there by 
the brutes who were pursuing us. Now the danger that 
showed itself most pressing seemed the worst. " We 
must take off the bricks ! " I cried. " Quick, and open 
that door ! There is nothing else for it. Come, Made- 
moiselle, if you please ! " 

"They are doing it," she answered. 

Then I saw whither the women and the servants 
had gone. They were ah-eady beside the otlior dooi-, 
the trap-door, labouring frantically to remove the bricks 
we iiad piled on it. In a moment I caught tlie infec- 
tion of their haste. 

"Come, Mademoiselle! come!" I ci-icd, advancing 
involuntarily a step towards the grou[). " Very likely 
the rogues below will be plundering now, and we may 
pass safely. At any rate, there is nothing else for it." 

I was still flurried and shaken — I say it with shame 
— by Gargouf's fate ; and when she did not answer at 
once, I looked roiuid impatiently. To my astonJHli- 
ment, she was gcjiic In the darkness, it was not easy 


to see any one at a distance of a dozen feet, and the 
reek of the smoke was spreading. Still, she had been 
at my elbow a moment before, she could not be far off. 
I took a step this way and that, and looked again 
anxiously ; and then I found her. She was kneeling 
against a chimney, her face buried in her hands. Her 
hair covered her shoulders, and partly hid her white robe. 

I thought the time ill-chosen, and T touched her 
angrily. "Mademoiselle!" I said. "There is not a 
moment to be lost ! Come ! they have opened the 
door ! " 

She looked up at mo, and the still pallor of her face 
sobered me. " I am not coming," she said, in a low 
voice. "Farewell, Monsieur!" 

" You are not coming? " I cried. 

"No, Monsieur; save yourself," she answered firmly 
and quietly. And she looked up at me with her hands 
still clasped before her, as if she were fain to return to 
her prayers, and waited only for me to go. 

I gasped. 

" But, Mademoiselle ! " I cried, staring at the 
white-robed figure, that in the gloom — a gloom riven 
now and again by hot flashes, as some burning spark 
soared upwards — seemed scarcely earthly — " But, 
Mademoiselle, you do not understand. This is no 
child's play. To stay here is death ! death ! The 
house is burning under us. Presently the roof, on 
which we stand, will fall in, and then " 

"Better that," she answered, raising her head with 
heaven knows what of womanly dignity, caught in this 
supreme moment by her, a child — " Better that, than 
that I should fall into their hands. I am a St. Alais, 
and lean die," she continued firmly. "But I must 
not fall into their hands. Do you, Monsieur, save 
yourself. Go now, and I will pray for you." 


"And I for you, Mademoiselle," 1 answered, with a 
full heart. " If you stay, I stay." 

She looked at me a moment, her face troubled. 
Then she rose slowly to her feet. The servants had 
disappeared, the trap-door lay open ; no one had yet 
come up. We had the roof to ourselves. I saw her 
shudder as she looked round ; and in a second I had 
her in my arms — she was no heavier tlian a child — and 
was half-way across the roof. She uttered a faint cry 
of remonstrance, of reproach, and for an instant 
struggled with me. But I only held her the tighter, 
and ran on. From the trap-door a ladder led down- 
wards ; somehow, still holding her with one hand, I 
stumbled down it, until I reached the foot, and found 
myself in a passage, which was all dark. One waj^ 
however, a light shone at the end of it. 

I carried her towards this, her hair lying across my 
lips, her face against my breast. She no longer 
struggled, and in a moment I came to the head of a 
staircase. It seemed to be a servant's staircase, foi' it 
was bare, and mean, and narrow, witli white-washed 
walls that were not too clean. There were no signs of 
fire here, even the smoke had not yet reached tliis part ; 
but half-way down the flight a candle, overturned, but 
still burning, lay on a step, as if some one had that mo- 
ment dropped it. And from all the lower pait of tin; 
house came up a great noise of riot and revelry, coaisr 
shrieks, and shouts, and laughlcf. 1 paus(!d to listen. 

Mademoiselle lifted herself a little in my arms. " I'ut 
me down, Monsieur," she whispered. 

'•Yon will come?" 

" T will do what yon tell ini;." 

1 set her down in the angle of the the head of 
the stairs; and in a whisper 1 asked her what was beyond 
the door, which I could see at the foot of tlu; flight. 


"The kitchen," she answered. 

"If I had any cloak to cover you," I said, "I think 
that we could pass. They are not searching for us. 
They are robbing and drinking." 

" Will you get the candle ? " she whispered, trembling. 
" In one of these rooms we may find something." 

I went softly down the bare stairs, and, picking it up, 
returned with it in ray hand. As I came back to her, 
our eyes met, and a slow blush, gradually deepening, 
crept over her face, as dawn creeps over a grey sky. 
Having come, it stayed ; her eyes fell, and she turned a 
little away from me, confused and frightened. We were 
alone ; and for the first time that night, I think, she 
remembered her loosened hair and the disorder of her 
dress — that she was a woman and I a man. 

It was a strange time to think of such things ; when 
at any instant the door at the foot of the stairs before 
us might open, and a dozen ruffians stream up, bent on 
plunder, and worse. But the look and the movement 
warmed my heart, and set my blood running as it had 
never run before. I felt my courage return in a flood, 
and with it twice my strength. I felt capable of holding 
the staircase against a hundred, a thousand, as long. as 
she stood at the top. Above all, I wondered how I 
could have borne her in my arms a minute before, how I 
could have held her head against ray breast, and felt 
her hair touch ray lips, and been insensible ! Never 
again should I carry her so with an even pulse. The 
knowledge of that carae to me as I stood beside her at 
the head of the bare stairs, affecting to listen to the noises 
below, that she might have time to recover herself. 

A moment, and I began to listen seriously ; for the 
uproar in the kitchen through which we must pass to 
escape, was growing louder ; and at the same time that 
I noticed this, a smell of burning wood, with a whiff of 


smoke, reached my nostrils, and warned me that the 
fire was extending to the wing in which we stood. 
Behind us, as we stood, looking down the stairs, was a 
door ; along the passage to the left by which we had 
come were other doors. I thrust the candle into Made- 
moiselle's hands, and begged her to go and look in the 

" There may be a cloak, or something ! " I said 
eagerly. "We must not linger. If you will look, I 
will " 

No more ; for as the last word trembled on my lips 
the door at the foot of the stairs flew open, and a man 
blundered through it and began to ascend towards us, 
two steps at a time. He carried a candle before him, 
and a large bar in his right hand ; and a savage roar of 
voices came with him through the doorway. 

He appeared so suddenly that we had no time to 
move. I had a side glimpse of Mademoiselle standing 
spell-bound with horror, the light drooping in her hand. 
Then I snatched the candle from her and quenched it ; 
and, plucking it from the iron candlestick, stood wait- 
ing, with the latter in my hand — waiting, stooping for- 
ward, for the man. I had left my sword in the farther 
wing, and had no other weapon ; but the stairs were 
narrow, the sloping ceiling low, and the candlestick 
might do. If his comrades did not follow him, it 
might do. 

He came up rapidly, two-thirds of Ihr way. holding 
the light high in front of him. Only four or five steps 
divided him from us! Then on a sudden, Ik; stumbled, 
swore, and fell heavily forwards. The light in his hand 
went out, and we were in darkness ! 

Instinctively I giipped Madenjoiselle's hand in my 
left hand to stay the scream that I knew was on her 
lips ; then we stood like two statues, scarcely daring to 



breathe. The man, so near lis, and yet unconscious 
of our presence, got up swearing ; and, after a terrible 
moment of suspense, during whicli I think he fumbled 
for the candle, he began to clatter down the stairs again. 
They had closed the door at the bottom, and he could 
not for a moment find the string of the latch. But at 
last he found it, and opened the door. Then I stepped 
back, and under cover of the babel that instantly poured 
up the staircase I drew Mademoiselle into the room 
behind us, and, closing the door which faced the stairs, 
stood listening. 

I fancied that I could hear her heart beating, I could 
certainly hear my own. In this room we seemed for 
the moment safe ; but how were we, without a light, 
to find anything to disguise her? How were we to 
pass through the kitchen ? And in a moment I began 
to regret that I had left the stairs. We were in perfect 
darkness here and could see nothing in the room, which 
had a close, unused smell, as of mice ; but even as I 
noticed this the fumes of burning wood, which had 
doubtless entered with us, grew stronger and overcame 
the other smell. The rushing wind-like sound of the 
fire, as it caught hold of the wing, began to be audible, 
and the distant crackling of flames. My heart sank. 

"Mademoiselle," I said softly. I still held her hand. 

" Yes, Monsieur," she murmured faintly. And she 
seemed to lean against me. 

" Are there no windows in this room ? " 

" I think that they are shuttered," she murmured. 

With a new thought in my mind, that the wa.y of the 
kitchen being hopeless we might escape by the windows, 
I moved a pace to look for them. I would have loosed 
her hand to do this, that my own might be free to grope 
before me, but to my surprise she clung to me and 
would not let me go. Then in the darkness I heard 


her sigh, as if she were about to swoon ; and she fell 
against me. 

" Courage, Mademoiselle, courage ! " I said, terrified 
by the mere thought. 

" Oh, I am frightened ! " she moaned in ray ear. " I 
am frightened ! Save me, Monsieur, save me ! " 

She had been so brave before that I wondered ; not 
knowing that the bravest woman's courage is of this 
quality. But I had short time for wonder. Her weight 
hung each instant more dead in my arms, and my heart 
beating wildly as I held her I looked round for help, 
for a thought, for an idea. But all was dark, I could 
not remember even where the door stood by which we 
had entered. I peered in vain, for the slightest glimmer 
of light that might betray the windows. I was alone 
with her and helpless, our way of retreat cut off, the 
flames approaching. I felt her head fall back and knew 
that she had swooned ; and in the dark I could do no 
more than support her, and listen and listen for the re- 
turning steps of the man, or what else would happen next. 

For a long time, a long time it seemed to me, nothing 
happened. Then a sudden burst of sound told me that 
the door at the foot of the stairs had been opened again ; 
and on that followed a clatter of wooden shoes on the 
bare stairs. I could judge now where the door of the 
room was, and I quickly l^ut tenderly laid INradcmoisolle 
on the floor a little behind it, and waited myself on tin; 
threshold. I still had my candlestick, and I was des- 

r heard them pass, my heart boating; and then T 
heard them pause and T clutched my W(!apon : and tlwn 
a voice I knew gave an order, and with a cry of joy I 
dragged open th(! door of tlie room and stood before 
thera — stood before them, as they told m(! afterwai-ds. 
with the face of a ghost or a man ri.sen from the dead. 


There were four of them, and the nearest to us was 
Father Benoit. 

The good priest fell on my neck and kissed me. "You 
are not hurt '? " he cried. 

" No," I said dully. '* You have come then? " 

" Yes," he said. "In time to save you, God be praised! 
God be praised! And Mademoiselle? Mademoiselle de 
St. Alais ? " he added eagerly, looking at me as if he 
thought I was not quite in my senses. " Have you 
news of her?" 

I turned without a word, and went back into the 
room. He followed with a light, and the three men, of 
whom Buton was one, pressed in after him. They 
were rough peasants, but the sight made them give 
back, and uncover themselves. Mademoiselle lay where 
I had left her, her head pillowed on a dark carpet of 
hair ; from the midst of which her child's face, composed 
and white as in death, looked up with solemn half-closed 
eyes to the ceiling. For myself, I stared down at her 
almost without emotion, so much had I gone through. 
But the priest cried out aloud. 

" Mun Dieu ! " he said, with a sob in his voice. " Have 
they killed her? " 

" No," I answered. " She has only fainted. If there 
is a woman here " 

"There is no woman here that I dare trust," he 
answered between his teeth. And he bade one of the 
men go and get some water, adding a few words which 
I did not hear. 

The man returned almost immediately, and Father 
Benoit, bidding him and his fellows stand back a little, 
moistened her lips with water, afterwards dashing some 
in her face ; doing it with an air of haste that puzzled 
me until I noticed that the room was grown thick with 
smoke, and on going myself to the door saw the red 


glow of the fire at the end of the passage, and heard 
the distant crash of falling stones and timbers. Then 
I thought that I understood the men's attitude, and 
I suggested to Father Benoit that I should carr}' her out. 

" She will never recover here," I said, with a sob in 
my throat. " She will be suffocated if we do not get 
her into the air." 

A thick volume of smoke swept along the passage as 
I spoke, and gave point to my words. 

"Yes," the priest said slowly, "I think so, too, my 
son, but " 

" But what '? " I cried. " It is not safe to stay ! " 

" You sent to Cahors ? " 

"Yes," I answered! " Has M, le Marquis come?" 

" No; and you see, M. le Vicomte, I have only tliese 
four men," he explained. " Had I stayed to gather 
more I might have been too late. And with these only 
I do not know what to do. Half the poor wretclies 
who have done this mischief are mad witli drink. Others 
are strangers, and " 

" But I thought — I thought that it was all over," I 
cried in astonishment. 

" No," he answered gravely. " They let us pass in 
after an altercation ; I ;iin of the Committee, and so is 
Huton there. But when they see you, and especially 
Mademoiselle de St. Alais — I do not know hi»\v they 
may act, my friend." 

"But, monDicu!" i cried. "Surely they will nut 
aare " 

"No, Monseigneur, have no feai', they shall not dare! " 

The words came out of the smoke. The speaker was 
Biiton. As he spoke, he stoppcKl forward, swinging tlu^ 
ponderous l)ar he; f-arritid, his huge hairy arms bare to 
the elbow. " Vet there is on(! thing you nnist do." he said. 



" Yon must put on the tricolour. They will not dare 
to touch that." 

He spoke with a simple pride, which at the moment 
I found unintelligible. I understand it better now. 
Nay, on the morrow, it was no riddle to me, though an 
abiding wonder. 

The priest sprang at the idea. " Good," he said. 
" Buton has hit it ! They will respect that." 

And before I could speak he had detached the large 
rosette which he wore on his soutane, and was pinning 
it on my breast. 

" Now yours, Buton," he continued ; and taking the 
smith's — it was not too clean — he fixed it on Made- 
moiselle's left shoulder. " There," he said eagerly, 
when it was done. " Now, M. le Vicomte, take her up. 
Quick, or we shall be stifled. Buton and I will go 
before you, and our friends here will follow you." 

Mademoiselle was beginning to come to herself with 
sighs and sobs, when I raised her in my arms ; and we 
were all coughing with the smoke. This in the passage 
outside was choking; had we delayed a minute longer 
we could not have passed out safely, for ah'eady the 
flames were beginning to lick the door of the next 
room, and dart out angry tongues towards us. As it 
was, we stumbled dow^n the stairs in some fashion, one 
helping another ; and checked for an instant by the 
closed door at the bottom, were glad to fall when it was 
opened pell-mell in the kitchen, where we stood with 
smarting eyes, gasping for breath. 

It was the grand kitchen of the Chateau that had 
seen many a feast prepared, and many a quarry brought 
home ; but for Mademoiselle's sake I was glad that her 
face was against my breast, and that she could not see 
it now. A great fire, fed high with fat and hams, 
blazed on the hearth, and before it, instead of meat, the 


carcases of three dogs hung from the jack, and tainted 
the air with the smell of hurning flesh. They were M. 
le Marquis' favourite hounds, killed in pure wantonness. 
Below them the floor, strewn with bottles, ran deep in 
wasted wine, out of which piles of shattered furniture 
and staved casks rose like islands. All that the rioters 
had not taken they had spoiled ; even now in one 
corner a woman was filling her apron with salt from a 
huge trampled heap, and at the battered dressoir three 
or four men were plundering. The main body of the 
peasants, however, had retired outside, where they could 
be heard fiercely cheering on the flames, shouting when a 
chimney fell or a window burst, and flinging into the fire 
every living thing unlucky enough to fall into their hands. 
The plunderers, on seeing us, sneaked out with grim 
looks like wolves driven from the prey. Doubtless, 
they spread the news ; for while we paused, though it 
was only for a moment, in the middle of the floor, the 
uproar outside ceased, and gave place to-a strange silence 
in the midst of which we appeared at the door. 

The glare of the burning house threw a light as strong 
as that of day on the scene before us ; on the line of 
savage frenzied faces that confronted us, and the great 
pile of wreckage that stood about and bore witness to 
their fury. But for a moment the light failed to show 
us to them ; we were in the shadow of the wall, and 
it was not until we had advanced some paces that the 
ominous silence was broken, and tlie mob, with a howl 
of rage, sprang forward, like bloodhounds slip[)<Ml from 
the leash. Low-browed and shock-headed, half-naked, 
and l)lack with smoke and blood, they seemed more 
like beasts tiian men; and like beasts they came on, 
snapping the teeth and snarling, while from the rear — 
f(;r the foremost were past speech — came screams of 
" Mort aux Tijrans ! Mart aux Accapareurs ! " that, 


mingling with the tumult of the fire, were enough to 
scare the stoutest. 

Had my escort blenched for an instant our fate was 
sealed. But they stood firm, and before their stern 
front all but one man quailed and fell back — fell back 
snarling and crying for our blood. That one came on, 
and aimed a blow at me with a knife. On the instant 
Buton raised his iron bar, and with a stentorian cry of 
" Respect the Tricolour ! " struck him to the ground, 
and strode over him. 

" Respect the Tricolour ! " he shouted again, with the 
voice of a bull ; and the effect of the words was magical. 
The crowd heard, fell back, and fell aside, staring stu- 
pidly at me and my burden. 

" Respect the Tricolour ! " Father Benoit cried, raising 
his hand aloft ; and he made the sign of the cross. On 
that in an instant a hundred voices took it up ; and 
almost before I could apprehend the change, those who 
a moment earlier had been gaping for our blood were 
thrusting one another back, and shouting as with one 
voice, " Way, way for the Tricolour ! " 

There was something unutterably new, strange, for- 
midable in this reverence ; this respect paid by these 
savages to a word, a ribbon, an idea. It made an im- 
pression on me that was never quite effaced. But at 
the moment I was scarcely conscious of this. I heard 
and saw things dully. Like a man in a dream, I walked 
through the crowd, and, stumbling under my burden, 
passed down the lane of brutish faces, down the avenue, 
down to the gate. There Father Benoit would have 
taken Mademoiselle from me, but I would not let him. 

" To Saux ! To Saux ! " I said feverishly ; and then, 
I scarcely knew how, I found myself on a horse holding 
her before me. And we were on the road to Saux, 
lighted on our way by the flames of the burning ChA,teau. 




Father Benoit had the forethought, when we reached 
the cross-roads, to leave a man there to await the party 
from Cahors, and warn them of Mademoiselle's safety ; 
and we had not ridden more than half a mile before 
the clatter of hoofs behind us announced that they 
were following. I was beginning to recover from the 
stupor into which the excitement of the night had 
thrown me, and I reined up to deliver over my charge, 
should M. de St. Alais desire to take her. 

But he was not of the party. The leader was Louis, 
and his company consisted, to my surprise, of no more 
than six or seven servants, old M. de Gontaut. one of 
the Harincourts, and a strange gentleman. Then- 
horses were panting and smoking with the speed at 
which they had come, and tlu; men's eyes glittered 
with excitement. No one seemed to think it strange 
that I carried Mademoiselle ; but all, after hurriedly 
thanking' God that slu; was safe, hastened to ask the 
number of the rioters. 

" Nearly a hundred," I said. " .\s far as I could judge. 
iSut where is M. 1( .Marquis?" 

"He had not r(iturned when the mI.umi came." 

" You are a small party ?" 

Louis swore with vciXiition. " I cnuld g<'t n" more, 
he said. " Nnws came at i\w. same t inie thiil Maiignac's 
house was on tire, and ho caiTJed off a do/.cn. A ^eore 


of others took fripjht, and tlionght it mifrht be the same 
with them ; and they saddled up in haste, and went to 
see. In fact," he continued bitterly, " it seemed to me 
to be every one for himself. Always excepting my good 
friends here." 

M. de Gontaut began to chuckle, but choked for 
want of breath. " Beauty in distress ! " he gasped. 
Poor fellow, he could scarcely sit his horse. 

"But you will come on to Saux?" I said. They 
were turning their horses in a cloud of steam that 
mistily lit up the night. 

" No ! " Louis answered, with another oath ; and I 
did not wonder that he was not himself, that his usual 
good nature had deserted him. "It is now or never! 

If we can catch them at this work " 

I did not hear the rest. The trampling of their 
horses, as they drove in the spurs and started down the 
road, drowned the words. In a moment they were 
fifty paces away ; all but one, who, detaching himself 
at the last moment, turned his horse's head, and rode 
up to me. It was the stranger, the only one of the 
party, not a servant, whom I did not know. 

" How are they armed, if you please ? " he asked. 
" They have at least one gun," I said, looking at him 
curiously. " And by this time probably more. The 
mass of them had pikes and pitchforks." 
" And a leader?" 

" Petit Jean, the smith, of St. Alais, gave orders." 
" Thank you, M. le Vicomte," he said, and saluted. 
Then, touching his horse wdth the spur, he rode off at 
speed after the others. 

I was in no condition to help them, and I was 
anxious to put Mademoiselle, who lay in my arms like 
one dead, in the women's care. The moment they 
were gone, therefore, we pursued our way, Father 


Benoit and I silent and full of thought, the others 
chattering to one another without pause or staj'. 
Mademoiselle's head lay on my right shoulder. I 
could feel the faint beating of her heart ; and in that 
slow, dark ride had time to think of many things : of 
her courage and will and firmness — this poor little 
convent-bred one, who a fortnight before had not found 
a word to throw at me ; last, but not least, of the 
womanly weakness, dear to my man's heart, that had 
sapped her reserve at last, and brought her arms to my 
neck and her cry to my ear. The faint perfume of her 
hair was in my nostrils ; I longed to kiss the half- 
shrouded head. But, if in an hour I had learned to 
love her, I had learned to honour her more ; and I 
repressed the impulse, and only held her more gently, 
and tried to think of other things until she should be 
out of my arms. 

If I did not find that so easy, it was not for want of 
food for thought. The glow of the fire behind us 
reddened all the sky at our backs ; the murmur of the 
mob pursued us ; more than once, as we went, a figure 
sneaked by us in the blackness, and fled, as if to join 
them. P'ather Benoit fancied that there was a second 
fire a league to the east; and in the tumult and up- 
lieaval of all things on this night, and the consequent 
confusion of tlumght into which I had fallen, it would 
scarcely have surprised me if flames had broken out 
before us also, and announced that Saux was burning. 

But I was spared that. On the contrary, the whole 
village came out to meet us, ami accoinpanicd us, 
cheering, from tlie gates to the dooi- nf lli«' C'liutcau, 
where, in the glare of the lights they carried, and amid 
a great silence of curiosity and cxjiectation, Made- 
moiselle was lifted from my saddle and carried into tlie 
house. The women who pressed round the dour to 


see, stooped forward to follow her with their eyes ; but 
none as I followed her. 

Much that passes for fair at night wears a foul look 
by day ; and things tolerable in the suffering have a 
knack of seeming fantastically impossible in the retro- 
spect. When I awoke next morning, in the great 
chair in the hall — wherein, tradition had it, Louis the 
Thirteenth had once sat — and, after three hours of 
troubled sleep, found Andre standing over me, and the 
sun pouring in through door and window, I fancied for 
a moment that the events of the night, as I remem- 
bered them, were a dream. Then my eyes fell on a 
brace of pistols, which I had placed by my side over 
night, and on the tray at which Father Benoit and I 
had refreshed ourselves ; and I knew that the things 
had happened. I sprang up. 

"Is M. de St. Alais here?" I said. 

" No, Monsieur." 

"Nor M. le Comte?" 

" No, Monsieur." 

" ^Yhat ! " I said. " Have none of the party come ? " 
For I had gone to sleep expecting to be called u[) to 
receive them within the hour. 

"No, M. le Vicomte," the old'nian answered, "except 
— except one gentleman who was with them, and who 
is now walking with M. le Cure in the garden. And 
for him " 

" Well?" I said sharply, for Andre, who had got on 
his most gloomy and dogmatic air, stopped with a 
sniff of contempt. 

" He does not seem to be a man for whom M. le 
Vicomte should be roused," he answered obstinately. 
" But M. le Cure would have it ; and in these days, 


I suppose, we must tramp for a smith, let alone an 
officer of excise." 

" Buton is here, then ? " 

" Yes, Monsieur ; and walking on the terrace, as if 
of the family. I do not know what things are coming 
to," Andre continued, grumbling, and raising his voice 
as I started to go out, " or what they would be at. 
But when M. le Yicomte took away the carcan I 
knew what was likely to happen. Oh ! yes," he went 
on still more loudly, while he stood holding tlie tray, 
and looking after me with a sour face, " I knew what 
would happen ! I knew what would happen ! " 

And, certainly, if I had not been shaken completely 
out of the common rut of thought, I should have found 
something odd, myself, in the combination of the 
three men whom I found on the terrace. They were 
walking up and down, Father Benoit, with downcast 
eyes and his hands behind liini, in the middle. On 
one side of him moved Buton, coarse, heavy-shouldered, 
and clumsy, in his stained blouse ; on the other side 
paced the stranger of last night, a neat, middle-sized 
man, very plainly dressed, with riding boots and a 
sword. liemembering that he had formed one of 
Louis' party, I was surprised to see that he wore the 
tricolour ; l^ut I forgot this in my anxiety to kimw 
what had become (A i\\v. others. Without standing 
on ceremony, I asked him. 

" They attacked the rioters, lost one man, and were 
beaten off," he answered with dry precision. 

"And M. le Comte?" 

"Was not hurt. He returjied to Cahors, t(» raise 
more men. I, as my advice seemed to be taken in ill 
part, came here." 

He spoke in ;i bliuit, straightforward way, as to an 
('(pial ; and at once seemed to be, and not to be. n, 


gentleman. The Cure, seeing that he puzzled me, 
hastened to introduce him. 

" This, M. le Vicomte," he said, " is M. le Capitaine 
Hugues, late of the American Army. He has placed 
his services at the disposal of the Committee." 

"For the purpose," the Captain went on, before I 
had made up my mind how to take it, " of drilling and 
commanding a body of men to be raised in Quercy to 
keep the peace. Call them militia ; call them what you 

I was a good deal taken aback. The man, alert, 
active, practical, with the butt of a pistol peeping from 
his pocket, was something new to me. 

"You have served his Majesty?" I said at last, to 
gain time to think. 

" No," he answered. "There are no careers in that 
army, unless you have so many quarterings. I served 
under General Washington." 

" But I saw you last night with M. de St. Alais ? " 

" Why not, M. le Vicomte ? " he answered, looking at 
me plainly. " I heard that a house was being burned. 
I had just arrived, and I placed myself at M. le Comte's 
disposal. But they had no method, and would take no 

" Well," I said, " these seem to me to be rather 
extreme steps. You know " 

" M. de Marignac's house was burned last night," the 
Cure said softly. 

" Oh ! " 

" And I fear that we shall hear of others. I think 
that we must look matters in the face, M. le 

" It is not a question of thinking or looking, but of 
doing ! " the Captain said, interrupting him harshly. 
" We have a long summer's day before us, but if by 


to-night we have not done something, there will be a 
sorry dawning in Quercj'^ to-morrow." 

'' There are the King's troops," I said. 

" They refuse to obey orders. Therefore, they are 
worse than useless." 

" Their officers ? " 

" They are staunch ; but the people hate them. A 
knight of St. Louis is to the mob what a red rag is to a 
bull. I can answer for it that they have enough to do to 
keep their men in barracks, and guard their own heads." 

I resented his familiarity, and the impatience with 
which he spoke ; but, resent it as I might, I could not 
return to the tone I had used yesterday. Then it 
had seemed an outrageous thing that Buton should 
stand by and listen. To-day the same thing had an 
ordinary air. And this, moreover, was a different man 
from Doury ; arguments that had crushed the one 
would have no weight with the other. I saw that, and, 
rather helplessly, I asked Father Benoit what he would 

He did not answer. It was the Captain who replied. 
" We want you to join the Committee," he said briskly. 

" I discussed that yesterday," I answered with some 
stiffness. " I cannot do so. Father Benoit will tell 
you 80." 

" It is not Father Benoit's answer I want," tin; 
Captain re|)lied. " It is yours, M. le Vicomte." 

"I answered yesterday," I said haughtily — "and 

" Yesterday is not to-day," he retorted. " M. ilu Si. 
Alais' house stood yesterday ; it is a smoking ruin to- 
day. M. do Marignac's likewise. Yesterday much 
was conjecture. To-day facts speak for themselves. 
A few hours' hesitation, and tlx' |>r<)vince will be in a 
blaze from one end to the other," 


I could not gainsay this ; at the same time there was 
one other thing I could not do, and that was change my 
views again. Having solemnly put on the white cockade 
in Madame St. Alais' drawing-room, I had not the 
courage to execute another volte-face. I could not 
recant again. 

"It is impossible — impossible in my case," I stam- 
iiirred at last peevishly, and in a disjointed way. 
" Why do you come again to me ? Why do you not go 
to some one else ? There are two hundred others whose 
names " 

" Would be of no use to us," M. le Capitaine 
answered brusquely; "whereas yours would reassure 
the fearful, attach some moderate men to the cause 
and not disgust the masses. Let me be frank with you, 
M. le Vicomte," he continued in a different tone. " I 
want your co-operation. I am here to take risks, but 
none that are unnecessary ; and I prefer that my com- 
mission should issue from above as well as from below. 
Add your name to the Committee and I accept their 
commission. Without doubt I could police Quercy in 
the name of the Third Estate, but I would rather hang, 
draw, and quarter in the name of all three." 

" Still, there are others " 

" You forget that I have got to rule the canaille in 
Cahors," he answered impatiently, " as well as these 
mad clowns, who think that the end of t\tB world is 
here. And those others you speak of " 

" Are not acceptable," Father Benuit said gently, 
looking at me with yearning in his kind eyes. The 
light morning air caught the skirts of his cassock as 
he spoke, and lifted them from his lean figure. He 
held his shovel hat in his hand, between his face and 
the sun. I knew that there was a conflict in his mind 
as in mine, and that he would have me and would 


have me not ; and the knowledge strengthened me to 
resist his words. 

" It is impossible," I said. 

I was spared the necessity of answering. I had my 
face to the door of the house, and as the last word 
was spoken saw Andre issue from it with M. de St. 
Alais. The manner in which the old servant cried, 
" M. le Marquis de St. Alais, to see M. le Vicomte ! " 
gave us a little shock, it was so full of sly triumph ; 
but nothing on M. de St. Alais' part, as he approached, 
betrayed that he noticed this. He advanced with an 
air perfectly gay, and saluted me with good humour. 
For a moment I fancied that he did not know what 
had happened in the night ; his first words, however, 
dispelled the idea. 

" M. le Vicomte," he said, addressing me with both 
ease and grace, " we are for ever grateful to you. I 
was abroad on business last night, and could do 
nothing ; and my brother must, T am told, have come 
too late, even if, with so small a force, he could elfect 
anything. I saw Mademoiselle as I passed through 
the house, and she gave me some particulars." 

" She has left her room ?" I cried in surprise. The 
other three had drawn back a little, so that we enjoyed 
a kind of privacy. 

" Yt.'s," he answered, smiling sligiitly at my tone. 
" .Viid 1 can assure you, M. le V'icomto, lias spoken as 
highly of you as a maiden dare, h'ov the rest, my 
mother will convey the thanks of the family to you 
more fitly than I can. Still, I may hope that you are 
none the worse." 

I muttered that I was not; but I h;ii<lly knew 
what I Huid. St. Alais' demeanour was so (lirfcrcnt 
from that which I had anticipated, his easy calmness 



and gaiety were so unlike the rage and heat which 
seemed natural in one who liad just heard of the 
destruction of his house and the murder of his steward, 
that I was completely nonplussed. He appeared to 
be dressed with his usual care and distinction, though 
I was bound to suppose that he had been up all night ; 
and, though the outrages at St. Alais and Marignac's 
had given the lie to his most confident predictions, he 
betrayed no sign of vexation. 

All this dazzled and confused me ; yet I must say 
something. I muttered a hope that Mademoiselle 
was not greatlj^ shaken by her experiences. 

" I think not," he said. " AVe St. Alais are not 

made of sugar. And after a night's rest But I fear 

that I am interrupting you?" And for the first time 
he let his eyes rest on my companions. 

" It is to Father Benoit and to Buton here, that your 
thanks are really due, M. le Marquis," I said. "For 
without their aid " 

" That is so, is it ? " he said coldly. " I had heard it." 

" But not all ? " I exclaimed. 

" I think so," he said. Then, continuing to look at 
them, though he spoke to me, he continued : " Let me 
tell you an apologue, M. le Vicomte. Once upon a 
time there was a man who had a grudge against a 
neighbour because the good man's crops were better 
than his. He went, therefore, secretly and by night, 
and not all at once — not all at once. Messieurs, but 
little by little — he let on to his neighbour's land the 
stream of a river that flowed by both their farms. He 
succeeded so well that presently the flood not only 
covered the crops, but threatened to drown his neigh- 
bour, and after that his own crojDS and himself! Ap- 
prised too late of his folly But how do you like 

the apologue, M. le Cure?" 


" It does not touch lue," Father Benoit answered 
with a wan smile. 

" I am no man's servant, as the slave boasted," St. 
Alais answered with a pohte sneer. 

"For shame! for shame, M. le Marquis!"' I cried, 
losing patience. "I have told you that but for ^NI. le 
Cure and the smith liere, Mademoiselle and I " 

" And I have told you," he answered, interrupting 
me with grim good humour, " what I think of it, ]M. le 
Vicomte ! That is all." 

"But you do not know what happened'?" I persisted, 
stung to wrath by his injustice. "You are not, you 
cannot be, aware that when Father Benoit and his 
companions arrived. Mademoiselle de St. Alais and I 
were in the most desperate plight ? that they saved us 
only at great risk to themselves ? and that for our 
safety at last you have to thank rather the tricolour, 
which those wretches respected, than any display of 
force which we were able to make." 

"That, too, is so, is it?" he said, liis face; gi'own 
dark. " I shall have something to say to it [Jicscntiy. 
]^ut, fii'st, may 1 ask you a (juestion, M. le Vicomte? 
\i\\ I right ill supposing that these gentlemen are 
waiting on you from — pardon inc if I do not get the 
tith; correctly — the Honourable the Connnittee of riihlic 

I nodded. 

"And I presunji; UjilL 1 ma}- congratiilaLc ihoui on 
your answer? " 

"No, yon may not!" 1 icplicd, witli satisfaction. 
"This gentleman "—and I pointed fo the ('apitiiinc 
Ilugues — "has laid before me certain proposals ;imiI 
certain arguments in favour of them." 

" l»ut lie has not laid before you the most potent of 
ail arguments," the Captain said, interposing, with a 


dry bow. " I find it, and you, M. le Vicomte, will find 
it, too, in M. le Marquis de St. Alais ! " 

The ]\Iarquis stared at him coldly. " I am obliged 
to you," he said contemptuously. " By-and-by, per- 
haps, I shall have more to say to you. For the present, 
however, I am speaking to M. le Vicomte." And he 
turned and addressed me again. " These gentlemen 
have waited on you. Do I understand that you have 
declined their proposals?" 

"Absolutely!" I answered. "But," I continued 
warmly, " it does not follow that I am without grati- 
tude or natural feeling." 

" Ah ! " he said. Then, turning, with an easy air, 
" I see your servant there," he said. " May I summon 
him one moment ? " 

" Certainly." 

He raised his hand, and Andre, who was watching us 
from the doorway, flew to take his orders. 

He turned to me again. " Have I your permission V " 

I bowed, wondering. 

" Go, my friend, to Mademoiselle de St. Alais," he 
said. " She is in the hall. Beg her to be so good as to 
honour us with her presence." 

Andre went, with his most pompous air ; and we re- 
mained, wondering. No one spoke. I longed to 
consult Father Benoit by a look, but I dared not do so, 
lest the Marquis, who kept his eyes on my face, his 
own wearing an enigmatical smile, should take it for a 
sign of weakness. So we stood until Mademoiselle 
appeared in the doorway, and, after a momentary pause, 
came timidly along the terrace towards us. 

She wore a frock which I believe had been my 
mother's, and was too long for her ; but it seemed to 
my eyes to suit her admirably. A kerchief covered her 
shoulders, and she had another laid lightly on her un- 


powdered hair, which, knotted up loosely, strayed in 
tiny ringlets over her neck and ears. To this charming 
disarray, her blushes, as she came towards us, shading 
her eyes from the sun, added the last piquancy. I had 
not seen her since the women lifted her from my saddle, 
and, seeing her now, coming along the terrace in the 
fresh morning light, I thought her divine ! I wondered 
how I could have let her go. An insane desire to defy 
her brother and whirl her off, out of this horrid im- 
broglio of parties and politics, seized upon me. 

But she did not look towards me, and my heart 
sank. She had eyes only for M. le Marquis ; approach- 
ing him as if he had a magnet which drew her to him. 

" Mademoiselle," he said gravely, " I am told that 
your escape last night was due to your adoption of an 
emblem, which I see that you are still wearing. It is 
one which no subject of his Majesty can wear with 
honour. Will you oblige me by removing it ? " 

Pale and red by turns, she shot a piteous glance at 
us. "Monsieur?" she muttered, as if she did not 

"I think I have spoken plainly," he said. " Be good 
enough to remove it." 

Wincing under the rcljuke, she hesitated, looking for 
a moment as if she would burst into tears. Then, with 
her lip trembling, and with trembling lingers, she 
complied, and l)egan to unfasten tlie tricolour, which 
the servants — without her knowledge, it may be— had 
removed from the robe she had woi n to lliat wliich she 
now wore. It took her a long time to remove it, under 
our eyes, and T grew hot with indignation. Hut 1 d;i red 
not interf(!rc, and tlie others looked on gravely. 

"Thank you," M. de Alais said, when, at last, she 
had succeeded in unpinning it. " I know, Mademoiselle, 
that you are a true St. Alais, and would die rather than 


owe your life to disloyalty. Be <TOod enough to throw 
that down. ;md trciul u|)i)ii it. " 

Shr started Ninlciitl y at the words. 1 think \vv, all 
did. 1 l<now tliat 1 look a stc]) foi'ward, and, hut for 
M. le Marcjuis" raised hand, must have intervened. 
But I had no rio;ht ; we were spectators, it was for 
her to act. She stood a moment with all our eyes upon 
her, stood staring breathless and motionless at her 
brother; then, still looking at him, with a shivering 
sigh, she slowly and mechanically lifted her hand, and 
dropped the ribbon. It fluttered down. 

" Tread upon it ! " the Marquis said ruthlessly. 

She trembled ; her face, her child's face, grown quite 
white. But she did not move. 

" Tread upon it ! " he said again. 

And then, without looking down, she moved her foot 
forward, and touched the ribbon. 




" Thank you, Mademoiselle ; now you can go," he said. 

But he need not have spoken, for the moment his 
sister had done his bidding she turned from us ; before 
two words had passed his lips she was hurrying back 
to the house in a passion of grief, her face covered, and 
her slight figure shaken by sobs that came back to us 
on the summer air. 

The sight stung me to rage ; yet for a moment, and 
by a tremendous effort I restrained myself. I would 
hear him out. 

But he either did not, or would not see the effect he 
had produced. " There, Messieurs," he said, his face 
somewhat pale. "I am obliged to your patience. 
Now you know what I think of your tricolour and your 
services. It shall slielter neithei- me nor mine ! I hold 
no parley with assassins." 

1 sprang forward, I could contain myself no longci'. 
"And I ! " I cried, "I, M. le Marquis, have something 
to say, too ! I have something to declare ! A moment 
ago I refused that tricoloui ' I icjected tlie overtures of 
those who brought it to me. J was resolved to stand by 
you and by my brethren against my better judgment. I 
was of your y)arty, tliougli I did not believe in it : and you 
might have tied me to it. But this gentleman is right, 
you are yourself the strongest argument against yourself. 
And I do this ! I do this ! " T repeated passionately. 
*' See, M, le Marquis, and know tiiat it is youi doing ! " 


With the word I snatched up the ribbon, on which 
Mademoiselle had trodden, and with fingers that 
trembled scarcely less than hers had trembled, when 
she unfastened it, I pinned it on my breast. 

He bowed, with a sardonic smile. "A cockade is easily 
changed," he said. But I could see that he was livid 
with rage ; that he could have slain me for the rebuke. 

" You mean," I said hotly, " that I am easily turned." 

"You put on the cap, M. le Vicomte," he retorted. 

The other three had withdrawn a little — not without 
open signs of disgust — and left us face to face on the 
spot on which we had stood three weeks before on the 
eve of his mother's reception. Still raging with anger 
on Mademoiselle's account, and minded to wound him, 
I recalled that to him, and the prophecies he had then 
uttered, prophecies which had been so ill-fulfilled. 

He took me up at the second word. " Til-fulfilled?" 
he said grimly. "Yes, M. le Vicomte, but why? Be- 
cause those who should support me, those who from 
one end of France to the other should support the King, 
are like you — waverers who do not know their own 
minds ! Because the gentlemen of France are proving 
themselves churls and cravens, unworthy of the names 
they bear ! Yes, ill-fulfilled," he continued bitterly, 
" because you, M. de Saux, and men like you, are for 
this to-day, and for that to-morrow, and cry one hour, 
' Beform,' and the next, ' Order ! ' " 

The denial stuck in my throat, and my passion dying 
down I could only glower at him. He saw this, and 
taking advantage of my momentary embarrassment, 
"But enough," he continued in a tone of dignity very 
galling to me, since it was he who had behaved ill, not 
I. " Enough of this. While it was possible I courted 
your aid, M. de Saux ; and I acknowledge, I still ac- 
knowledge, and shall be the last to disclaim, the obliga- 


tion under which j'ou last night placed us. pjiit there 
can never be true fellowship between those who wear 
that " — and he pointed to the tricolour I had assumed 
— "and those who serve the King as we serve him. 
You will pardon me, therefore, if I take my leave, and 
without delay withdraw my sister from a house in which 
her presence may be misunderstood, as mine, after what 
has passed, must be unwelcome." 

He bowed again with that, and led the way into the 
house ; while I followed, tongue-tied and with a sudden 
chill at my heart. There was no one in the hall except 
Andre, who was hovering about the farther door ; but 
in the avenue beyond were three or four mounted ser- 
vants waiting for M. de St. Alais, and half-way down 
the avenue a party of three were riding towards the 
gates. It needed but a glance to show me that the 
foremost of these was Mademoiselle, and that she rode 
low in the saddle, as if she still wept. And I turned 
in a hot fit to M. de St. Alais. 

But I found his eye fixed on me in such a fashion 
tliat the words died on my lips. He coughed drily. 
"Ah!" he said. "So Mademoiselle has herself felt 
the propriety of leaving. You will permit me, then, to 
make her acknowledgments, M. do Saux, and to take 
leave for her." 

He saluted me with the words and liuiied. \lc al- 
ready had his foot raised to the stirrup when I muttered 
his name. 

He looked roiind. "Pntdnn!" he sai<]. "Is there 
anytliing " 

I beckoned to the servants to stand buck. I was in 
misery betw(;en rage and shame, the iiot lit goiui. 
" Monsieur," I said, "there is one more thing to be said. 
This docs not end all between Mademoiselle and nie. 
For Mademoiselle " 


t ( 

We will not speak of licr ! " lie exclaiiiuHl. 

But 1 was not to be put down. " For Mademoiselle, 
1 do not know her sentiments," I continued, doggedly 
disregarding his interruption, "nor whether I am agree- 
able to her. But for myself, M. de St. Alais, I tell you 
frankly that I love her ; nor shall I change because I 
wear one tricolour or another. Therefore " 

" I have only one thing to say," he cried, raising his 
hand to stay me. 

I gave way, breathing hard. " What is it? " I said. 

" That you make love like a bourgeois ! " he answered, 
laughing insolently. " Or a mad Englishman ! And as 
Mademoiselle de St. Alais is not a baker's daughter, to 
be wooed after that fashion, I find it offensive. Is that 
enough or shall I say more, M. le Vicomte '? " 
. "That will not be enough to turn me from my patli!" 
I answered. " You forget that I carried Mademoiselle 
hither in my arms last night. But I do not forget it, 
and she will not forget it. We cannot be henceforth 
as we were, M. le Marquis." 

"You saved her life and base a claim upon it?" he 
said scornfully. " That is generous and like a gentle- 
man ! " 

"No, I do not!" I answered passionately. "But I 
have held Mademoiselle in my arms, and she has laid 
her head on my breast, and you can undo neither the 
one nor the other. Henceforth I have a right to woo 
her, and I shall win her." 

" While I live you never shall ! " he answered fiercely. 
" I swear that, as she trod on that ribbon — at my word, 
at my word, Monsieur ! — so she shall tread on your 
love. From this day seek a wife among your friends. 
Mademoiselle de St. Alais is not for you." 

I trembled with rage. "You know, Monsieur, that I 
cannot fight you ! " I said. 


"Nor I 3'ou," he answered. "I know it. There- 
fore," he continued, pausing an instant and reverting 
with marvellous ease to his former pohteness, " I will 
fly from you. Farewell, Monsieur — I do not say, until 
we meet again ; for I do not think that we shall meet 
much in future." 

I found nothing wherewith to answer that, and he 
turned and moved away down the avenue. Made- 
moiselle and her escort had disappeared ; his servants, 
obeying my gesture, were almost at the gates. I 
watched his figure as he rode under the boughs of the 
walnuts, that meeting low over his head let the sun 
fall on him through spare rifts ; and, sore and miser- 
able at heart myself, I marvelled at the gallant air he 
maintained, and the careless grace of his bearing. 

Certainly he had force. He had the force his fellows 
lacked ; and he had it so abundantly, that as I gazed 
after him the words I had used to him seemed weak 
and foolish, the resolution I had flung in his teeth 
childish. After all, he was right ; this, to which my 
feelings had impelled me on the spur of anger and love 
and the moment, was no French or proper way of 
wooing, nor one which I should have relished in my 
sister's case. Why then had I degraded Mademoiselle 
by it, and exposed myself? Men wooed mistresses 
that way, not wives ! 

So that I felt very wretched as I turned to go into 
the house. But there my eye alight(;(l on tlic pistols 
which still lay on the table in the hall, and with a 
sudden revulsion of feeling I remoniix'icd thai otiuirs' 
affairs were out of order too; that the C'liatcaux of St. 
Alais and Marignac lay in ashes, that last night 1 had 
saved Mademoiselle from death, that beyond the wal- 
nut avenue with its cool, long shade; and daj))il«il lloor, 
beyond the quiet of tliis suninn r day, lay the seiahiiig. 


brawling woi'ld of Quercy and of France — the world 
of maddened peasants and frightened townsfolk, and 
soldiers who would not figlit, and nobles who dared not. 

Then, Vive U Tricolor ! the die was cast. I went 
through the house to find Father Benoit and his com- 
panions, meaning to throw in my lot and return with 
them. But the terrace was empty ; they were no- 
where to be seen. Even of the servants I could only 
find Andre, who came pottering to me with his lips 
pursed up to grumble. I asked him where the Cure was. 

" Gone, M. le Vicomte." 


" He too. With half the servants, for the matter of 

" Gone ? " I exclaimed. " Whither ? " 

" To the village to gossip," he answered churlishly. 
" There is not a turnspit now but must hear the news, 
and take his own leave and time to gather it. The 
world is turned upside down, I think. It is time his 
Majesty the King did something." 

" Did not M. le Cure leave a message ? " 

The old servant hesitated. "Well, he did," he said 
grudgingly. " He said that if M. le Vicomte would stay 
at home until the afternoon, he should hear from him." 

"But he was going to Cahors ! " I said. "He is 
not returning to-day ? " 

"He went by the Httle alley to the village," Andre 
answered obstinately. " I do not know anything about 

"Then go to the village now," I said, "and learn 
whether he took the Cahors road." 

The old man went grumbling, and I remained alone 
on the terrace. An abnormal quietness, as of the after- 
noon, lay on the house this summer morning. I sat 
down on a stone seat against the wall, and began to go 


over the events of the night, recaUiug with the utmost 
vividness things to w^iich at the time I had scarcely 
given a glance, and shuddering at horrors that in the 
happening had barely moved me. Gradually my 
thoughts passed from these things which made my 
pulses beat ; and I began to busy myself with Made- 
moiselle. I saw her again sitting low in the saddle and 
weeping as she went. The bees hummed in the warm 
air, the pigeons cooed softly in the dovecot, the trees 
on the lawn below me shaped themselves into an 
avenue over her head, and, thinking of her, I fell asleep. 

After such a night as I had spent it was not un- 
natural. But when I awoke, and saw that it was high 
noon, I was wild with vexation. I sprang up, and 
darting suspicious glances round me, caught Andre, 
skulking away under the house wall. I called him 
back, and asked him why he had let me sleep. 

" I thought that you were tired, Monsieur," he mut- 
tered, blinking in the sun. " M. le Vicomte is not a 
peasant that he may not sleep when he pleases." 

" And M. le Cure ? Has he not returned ? " 

" No, Monsieur." 

" And he went — -which way V " 

He named a village half a league from us ; and then 
said that my dinner waited. 

I was hungry, and for a moment asked Jio more, 
but went in and sat down to the meal. Win 11 I lose 
it was nearly two o'clock. J^xpecting Father Benoit 
every moment, I bade them saddle the horses that I 
might 1)0 ready to go ; and then, too restless to remain 
still, 1 went nitf) the villagi;. Hctc; I found all in 
turmoil. Three-fourths of the inhabilants were away 
at St. Alais inspecting the ruins, and those who re- 
mained thought of nothing so little as doing tin ir 
ordinary work ; but, standing in groups at tiieir dcjors, 


or at the cross-roads, or the church gates, were dis- 
clTssiiifTj events. One asked nie timidly if it was true 
that the King had given all the land to the peasants ; 
another, if there were to be any more taxes ; a third, 
a question still more simple. Yet with this, I met 
with no lack of respect ; and few failed to express 
their joy that I had escaped the ruffians la-has. But 
as I approached each group a subtle shade of expecta- 
tion, of shyness and suspicion seemed to flit across 
faces the most familiar to me. At the moment I did 
not understand it, and even apprehended it but dimly. 
Now, after the event, now that it is too late, I know 
that it was the first symptom of the social poison 
doing its sure and deadly work. 

With all this, I could hear nothing of M. le Cure ; 
one saying that he was here, another there, a third that 
he had gone to Cahors ; and, in the end, I returned to 
the Chateau in a state of discomfort and unrest hard to 
describe. I would not again leave the front of the house 
lest I should miss him ; and for hours I paced the avenue, 
now listening at the gates or looking up the road, now 
walking quickly to and fro under the walnuts. In time 
evening fell, and night ; and still I was here awaiting 
the Cure's coming, chained to the silent house ; while 
my mind tortured me with pictures of what was going 
forward outside. The restless demon of the time had 
hold of me ; the thought that I lay here idle, while the 
world heaved, made me miserable, filled me with shame. 
When Andre came at last to summon me to supper, I 
swore at him ; and the moment I had done, I went up 
to the roof of the Chateau and watched the night, ex- 
pecting to see again a light in the sky, and the far-off 
glare of burning houses. 

I saw nothing, however, and tlie Cure did not come; 
and, after a wakeful night, seven in the morning saw 


me in the saddle and on the road to Cahors. Andre 
complained of illness and I took Gil onl}'. The country 
round St. Alais seemed to be deserted; but, half a league 
farther on, over the hill, I came on a score of peasants 
trudging sturdily forward. I asked them whither they 
were going, and why they were not in the fields. 

"We are going to Cahors, Monseigneur, for arms," 
they said. 

" For arms ! Whom are you going to fight ? " 

" The brigands, Monseigneur. They are burning and 
murdering on every side. By the mercy of God they 
have not yet visited us. And to-night we shall be 

'♦ Brigands ! " I said. " What brigands ? " 

But they could not answer that ; and I left them in 
wonder at their simplicity and rode on. I had not yet 
done with these brigands, however. Half a league short 
of Cahors I passed through a hamlet where the same 
idea prevailed. Here they had raised a rough barricade 
at the end of the street towards the country, and I saw 
a man on the church tower keeping watch. Meanwhile 
every one in the place who could walk had gone to 

" Why V " 1 asked. " For what ? " 

" Tf) hoar tlie news " 

Then I began to see tliaL my imagiiiaLioii had not led 
me astray. All the world was heaving, all the world 
was astir. I^j very one was hurrying to hear and tn jcniii 
and to tell ; to take arms if he had never used aini^ ix- 
fore, to advise if all his life he had obeyed onku's, to do 
anything and everything but his daily worU. Aft(U- this, 
that I should find ('ahors humming lil<(^ a hive of bees 
about to swarm, and the Valandrc bridge so crowdcul 
that I could scarcely force my way through its three 
gates, and the queue of people waiting for rations longer, 


and the rations shorter than ever before — after this, I 
say, all these things seemed only natural. 

Nor was I much surprised to find that as I rode 
through the streets, wearing the tricolour, I was hailed 
here and there with cheers. On the other hand, I 
noticed that wearers of white cockades were not lacking. 
They kept the wall in twos and threes, and walked 
with raised chins, and hands on sword-knots, and were 
watched askance by the commonalty. A few of them 
were known to me, more were strangers ; and while I 
blushed under the scornful looks of the former, knowing 
that I must seem to them a renegade, I wondered who 
the latter were. Finally I was glad to escape from both 
by alighting at Doury's, over whose door a huge tricolour 
flag hung limp in the sunshine. 

M. le Cure de Saux ? Yes, he was even then sitting 
with the Committee upstairs. Would M. le Vicomte 
walk up ? 

I did so, through a press of noisy people, who thronged 
the stairs and passages and lobbies, and talked, and 
gesticulated, and seemed to be settled there for the day. I 
worked my way through these at last, the door was 
opened, a fresli gust of noise came out to meet me, and 
I entered the room. In it, seated round a long table, I 
found a score of men, of whom some rose to meet me, 
while more kept their seats; three or four were* speak- 
ing at once and did not stop on my entrance. I recog- 
nised at the farther end Father Benoit and Buton, who 
came to meet me, and Capitaine Hugues, who rose, 
but continued to speak. Besides these there were two 
of the smaller noblesse, who left their chairs, and came 
to me in an ecstasy, and Doury, who rose and sat down 
half a dozen times ; and one or two Cures and others 
of that rank, known to me by sight. The uproar was 
great, the confusion equal to it. Still, somehow, and 


after a moment of tumult, I found myself received and 
welcomed and placed in a chair at the end of the table, 
with M. le Capitaine on one side of me and a notary 
of Cahors on the other. Then, under cover of the 
noise, I stole a few words with Father Benoit, who 
lingered a moment beside me. 

"You could not join us yesterday?" he muttered, 
with a pathetic look that only I understood. 

" But you left a message, bidding me wait for you ! " 
I answered. 

"I did?" he said. "No; I left a message asking 
you to follow us — if it pleased you," 

" Then I never got it," I replied, " Andre told 
me " 

" Ah ! Andre," he answered softly. And he shook his 

"The rascal!" I said; "then he lied to me! 
And " 

But some one called the Cure to his place, and we 
had to part. At the same instant most of the talkers 
ceased ; a moment, and only two were left speaking, 
who, without paying the least regard to one another, 
continued to hold forth to their neighbours, haranguing, 
one on the social contract ; the other on the brigands — 
the brigands who were everywhere burning the corn 
and killing the people ! 

At last M, le Capitaine, after long waiting to speak, 
attack(!d tlie former speaker. "Tut, Monsieur!" he 
said. " This is not the time for theory. A halfpenny- 
worth of fact " 

" Ts wortli a pound of theory!" the man of the 
brigands — he was a grocer, I believe — cried eagerly ; 
and hf brought his fist down on the table. 

" But now is the time ! — the God-sent time, t(^ frame 
the facts to the theory ! " the other combatant screamed. 

1 1 


" To form a perfect sj^steiii ! To regenerate the world, 
I say! To " 

" To regenerate the fiddlestick ! " his opponent 
answered, with equal heat. " When brigands are at 
our very doors ! when our crops are being burned and 
our houses plundered ! when " 

" Monsieur," the Captain said harshly, commanding 
silence by the gravity of his tone — "if you please ! " 


" Then, to be plain, I do not believe any more in your 
brigands than in M. I'Avoue's theories." 

This time it was the grocer's turn to scream. " What? " 
he cried. " When they have been seen at Figeac, and 
Cajarc, and Rodez, and " 

" By whom?" the soldier asked sharply, interrupting 

"By hundreds." 

" Name one." 

" But it is notorious ! " 

"Yes, Monsieur — it is a notorious lie!" M. le Capi- 
taine answered bluntly. " Believe me, the brigands 
with whom we have to deal are nearer home. Allow 
us to arrange with them first, and do not deafen M. le 
Vicomte with your chattering." 

" Hear ! hear ! " the lawyer cried. 

But this insult proved too much for the man of the 
brigands. He began again, and others joined in, for 
him and against him ; to my despair, it seemed as if 
the quarrel were only beginning — as if peace would 
have to be made afresh. 

How all this noise, tumult, and disputation, this 
absence of the politeness to which I had been accus- 
tomed all my life, this vulgar jostling and brawling 
depressed me I need not say. I sat deafened, lost in 
the scramble; of no more account, for the moment, than 


Buton. Xay of less ; for while I gazed about me and 
listened, sunk in wonder at m)^ position at a table with 
people of a class with whom I had never sat down 
before — save at the chance table of an inn, where my 
presence kept all within bounds — it was Buton who, 
by coming to the officer's aid, finally gained silence. 

" Now you have had j'our say, perhaps you will let 
me have mine," the Captain said, with acerbity, taking 
advantage of the hearing thus gained for him, " It is 
very well for you, M. I'Avoue, and you, Monsieur — I 
have forgotten your name — you are not fighting men, 
and my difficulty does not affect you. But there are 
half a dozen at this table who are placed as I am, 
and they understand. You may organise ; but if your 
officers are carried off every morning, you will not go far." 

" How carried off?" the lawyer cried, puffing out his 
thin cheeks. " Members of the Committee of " 

" How?" M. le Capitaine rejoined, cutting him short 
without ceremony — "by the prick of a small sword! 
You do not understand ; but, for some of us, we cannot 
go three paces from this door without risk of an insult 
and a challenge.*" 

"That is true!" the two gentlemen at the foot of 
the table cried with one voice. 

"It is true, and more," the Captain continued, wann- 
ing as he spoke. "It is no chance work, but a plan. 
It is their plan for curbing us. I have seen three men 
in the streets to-day, wlio, I can swear, are fencing- 
masters in fine clothes." 

" Assassins ! " the lawyer cried pompously. 

" Tliat is all very well," Ilugues said inorc^ sobcnly. 
" You can call them what you pUiase. Jiut what is to 
be done? If we cannot move al)road without a 
challenge and a duel, we are helpless. You will have 
all your leaders picked off." 


" The people will avenge yon !" the lawj^-er said, witli 
a grand air. 

M. le Capitainc shrugged his shoulders. " Thank 
you for nothing," he said. 

Father Benoit interposed. " At present," he said 
anxiously, " I think that there is only one thing to be 
done. You have said, M. le Capitaine, that some of 
the committee are not fighting men. Why, I w^ould ask, 
should any fight, and play into our opponents' hands ? " 

"Par Dieu ! I tliink that you are. right!" Hugues 
ansv^^ered frankly. And he looked round as if to collect 
opinions. " Why should we ? I am sure that I do 
not wish to fight. I have given my proofs." 

There was a short pause, during which we looked at 
one another doubtfully. " Well, why not? " the Captain 
said at last. " This is not play, but business. We are 
no longer gentlemen at large, but soldiers under dis- 

"Yes," I said stiffly, for I found all looking at me, 
" But it is difficult, M. le Capitaine, for men of honour 
to divest themselves of certain ideas. If we are not to 
protect ourselves from insult, we sink to the level of 

" Have no fear, M. le Vicomte!" Buton cried abruptly. 
" The people will not suffer it ! " 

" No, no ; the people will not suffer it ! " one or two 
echoed ; and for a moment the room rang with cries of 

" Well, at any rate," the Captain said at last, " all are 
now warned. And if, after this, they fight lightly, they 
do it with full knowledge that they are playing their 
adversaries' game. I hope all understand that. For 
my part," he continued, shrugging his shoulders with a 
dry laugh, " they may cane me ; I shall not fight them ! 
I am no fool ! " 




I HAVE said already how all this weighed lue down ; 
with what misgivings I looked along the table, from the 
pale, pinched features of the lawyer to the smug grin of 
the grocer, or Buton's coarse face ; with what sinkings 
of heart I found myself on a sudden the equal of these 
men, addressed now with rude abruptness, and now 
with servility ; last, but not least, with what despond- 
ency I listened to the wrangling which followed, and 
which it needed all the exertions of the Captain to 
control. Fortunately, the sitting did not last long. 
After half an hour of debate and conversation, during 
which I did what I could to aid the few who knew any- 
thing of business, the meeting broke up ; and while 
some went out on various missions, others remained to 
deal with such affairs as arose. I was one of those 
app(;inted to stay, and I drew Father BenAit into a 
corner, and, hiding for a moment the feeling of despair 
which possessed me, I asked him if any fuithor out- 
breaks had occurred in the country round. 

" No," he answered, secretly pressing my hand. 
" We have done so much good, I think." Then, in a 
different tone, which showed how ch-arly lie icad my 
mind, he continued, under his breatii, " Ah I M. Ic 
Vicomte, let us only keep the peace! Let us dn what 
lies to our hands. Let us protect tln' innoctiiit, imd 
then, no matter wliat happens. Alas, I foiesee more 


than I predicted. More than I dreamed of is in peril. 
Let us only cling to " 

He stopped, and turned, startled by the noisy en- 
trance of the Captain ; who came in so abruptly that 
those who remained at the table sprang to their feet. 
M. Hugues' face was flushed, his eyes were gleaming 
with anger. The lawyer, who stood nearest to the 
door, turned a shade paler, and stammered out a ques- 
tion. But the Captain passed by him with a glance of 
contempt, and came straight to me. " M, le Vicomte," 
he said out loud, blurting out his words in liaste, " you 
are a gentleman. You will understand me. I want 
your help." 

I stared at him. "Willingly," I said. "But what is 
the matter? " 

" t have been insulted ! " he answered, his moustaches 


" In the street ! And by one of those puppies ! But 
I will teach him manners ! I am a soldier, sir, and 
I " 


But, stay, M. le Capitaine," I said, really taken 
aback. " I understood that there was to be no fighting. 
And that you in particular " 

"Tut! tut!" 

" Would be caned before you would go out." 

" Sacre No77i ! " he cried, "what of that? Do you 
think that I am not a gentleman because I have served 
in America instead of in France? " 

" No," I said, scarcely able to restrain a smile. " But 
it is playing into their hands. So you said yourself, a 
minute ago, and " 

" Will you help me, or will you not, sir? " he retorted 
angrily. And then, as the lawyer tried to intervene, " Be 
silent, you ! " he continued, turning on him so violently 

THE DUEL. 167 

that the scrivener jumped back a pace. " What do you 
know of these things ? You miserable pettifogger ! 
you " 

" Softly, softly, M. le Capitaine," I said, startled by 
this outbreak, and by the prospect of further brawling 
which it disclosed. " M. TAvoue is doing merely his 
duty in remonstrating. He is in the right, and " 

" I have nothing to do with him ! And for you — you 
will not assist me ? " 

" I did not sa}^ that." 

" Then, if you will, I crave your services at once ! At 
once," he said more calmly ; but he still kept his 
shoulder to the lawyer. " I have appointed a meeting 
behind the Cathedral. If you will honour me, I must 
ask you to do so immediately." 

I saw that it was useless to say more ; that he had 
made up his mind ; and for answer I took u]) my hat. 
In a moment we were moving towards the door. The 
lawyer, the grocer, half a dozen cried out on us, and 
would have stopped us. But Father Benoit remained 
silent, and I went on down the stairs, and out of the 
house. Outside it was easy to see that the quarrel and 
insult had had spectators ; a gloomy crowd, not com- 
pact, Ijut made up oi watching groups, filled all the 
sunny open part of the square. The pavement, on tlic, 
other hand, along which we had to pass to go to the 
Cathedral, had foi' its only occupants a score or more 
of gentlemen, wIk;, wearing wiiile cockades, walked uj) 
and down in threes and fouis. Tlu; crowd eyed llicm 
silently; they affected to see nothing of the cidwd. 
Instead, they talked and smiled carelessly, and with 
half-op('ned eyes ; swung tlu^ir canes, and saluted one 
another, and now and then st(j})ped to exchange a word 
or a pinch of snulf. They wore an air of insolence, 
ill-hidden, which tiie silent, almost cowed looks of the 


multitude, as it watched them askance, seemed to 

We had to run the gauntlet of these ; and my face 
burned with shame, as we passed. Many of the men, 
whom I met now, I had met two days before at Madame 
St. Alais', where they had seen me put on the white 
cockade ; they saw me now in the opposite camp, they 
knew nothing of my reasons, and I read in their averted 
eyes and curling lips what they thought of the change. 
Others — and they looked at me insolently, and scarcely 
gave me room to pass — were strangers, wearing military 
swords, and the cross of St. Louis. 

Fortunately the passage was as short as it was pain- 
ful. We passed under the north wall of the Cathedral, 
and through a little door into a garden, where lime 
trees tempered the glare of the sun, and the town, with 
its crowd and noise, seemed to be in a moment left 
behind. On the right rose the walls of the apse and 
the heavy eastern domes of the Cathedral ; in front 
rose the ramparts ; on the left an old, half-ruined tower 
of the fourteenth century lifted a frowning ivy-covered 
head. In the shadow, at its foot, on a piece of smooth 
sward, a group of four persons were standing waiting 
for us. 

One was M. de St. Alais, one was Louis ; the others 
were strangers. A sudden thought filled me with 
horror. " AVhom are you going to fight?" I 

" M. de St. Alais," the Captain answered, in the 
same tone. And then, being within earshot of the 
others, I could say no more. They stepped forward, 
and saluted us. 

" M. le Vicomte ? " Louis said. He was grave and 
stern. I scarcely knew him. 

I assented mechanically, and we stepped aside from 

THE DUEL. 169 

the others. " This is not a case that admits of inter- 
vention, I believe ? " he said, bowing. 

" I suppose not," I answered huskily. 

In truth, I could scarcely speak for horror. I was 
waking slowly to the consciousness of the dilemma in 
which I had placed myself. AVere St. Alais to fall by 
the Captain's sword, what would his sister say to me, 
what would she think of me, how would she ever touch 
my hand ? And yet could I wish ill to my own princi- 
pal ? Could I do so in honour, even if something sturdy 
and practical, something of plain gallantry in the man, 
whom I was here to second, had not already and in- 
sensibly won my heart? 

Yet one of the two must fall. The great clock above 
my head, slowly telling out the hour of noon, beat the 
truth into my brain. For a moment I grew dizzy ; 
the sun dazzled me, the trees reeled before me, the 
garden swam. The murmur of the crowd outside filled 
my ears. Then out of the mist Louis' voice, unnatur- 
ally steady, gripped my attention, and my brain grew 
clear again. 

"Have you any objection to this spot?" he said. 
" The grass is dry, and not slippery. They will fight 
in shadow, and the light is good." 

" It will do," 1 muttered. 

" Perhaps you will examine it ? There is, I think, no 
trip or fault." 

1 affected to do so. " I fiiMl none," I said linarsoly. 

"Then we had better jjjiicc mir men?" 

" I tliink so." 

I had no knowledge of the skill of either combatant, 
but, as I tiniKfd to join llugues, 1 was startled 1)> tli<' 
contrast wliich the two presented as they stood a little 
apart, their upper clothes removed. Tiie Captain was 
tlie shortor by a head, and stiff and sturdy, willi a clear 


eye and keen visage. M. le Marquis, on the other 
hand, was tall and lithe, and long in the arm, with a 
reach which threatened danger, and a sinile almost as 
deadl}'. I thought that if his skill and coolness were on 

a par with his natural gifts, M. Hugues But 

then again my head reeled. What did I wish ? 

"We are ready," M.Louis said impatiently; and L 
noticec\ that he glanced past me towards the gate of 
the garden. "Will you measure the swords, M. le 
Vicomte ? " 

I complied, and was about to place my man, when 
M. le Capitaine indicated by a sign that he wished to 
speak to me, and, disregarding the frowns of the other 
side, I led him apart. 

His face had lost the glow of passioii which had ani- 
mated it a few minutes before, and was pale and stern. 
" This is a fool's trick," he said curtly, and under his 
breath. " It will serve me right if that puppy goes 
through me. You will do me a favour, M. le Vicomte?" 

I muttered that I would do him any in my power. 

"I borrowed a thousand francs to fit myself out for 
this service," he continued, avoidnig my eye, "from a 
man in Paris whose name you will find in my valise at 
the inn. Should anything happen to me, I should be 
glad if you will send him what is left. That is all." 

" He shall be paid in full," I said. " I will see to it." 

He wrung my hand, and went to his station ; and 
Louis and I placed ourselves on either side of the two, 
ready, with our swords drawn, to interfere should need 
arise. The signal was given, the principals saluted, and 
fell on guard, and in a moment the grinding and clicking 
of the blades began, while the pigeons of the Cathedral 
flew in eddies above us, and in the middle of the garden 
a little fountain tinkled softly in the sunshine. 

They had not made three passes before the great 

THE DUEL. 171 

diversity of their styles became apparent. While 
Hugues played vigorously with his body, stooping, and 
moving, and stepping aside, but keeping his arm stiff, 
and using his wrist much, M. le Marquis held his body 
erect and still, but moved his arm, and, fencing with a 
school correctness, as if he held a foil, disdained all 
artifices save those of the weapon. It was clear that 
he was the better fencer, and that, of the two, the 
Captain must tire first, since he was never still, and 
the wrist is more quickly fatigued that the arm ; but, 
in addition to this, I soon perceived that the Marquis 
was not putting forth his full strength, but, depending 
(jn his defence, was waiting to tire out his opponent. 
My eyes grew hot, my throat dry, as I watched breath- 
lessly, waiting for the stroke that must finish all — 
waiting and flinching. And then, on a sudden, some- 
thing happened. The Captain seemed to slip, yet did 
not slip, but in a moment, stooping almost prone, his 
left hand on the ground, was under the ()ther''s guard. 
His point was at the Marquis's breast, when the latter 
sprang back — sprang l)ack, and just saved himself. 
Jiefore the Captain could recover his footing, Louis 
dashed his sword aside. 

"Foul play!" he ci'ied ])assionately. " l-'oul [)lay ! 
A stroke dessuiis ! Il i^ nut cu rhjle." 

The Captain stood breathing ([uickly, his point to 
the ground. " l->nt why not, Monsieur?" he said. 
Then he looked to me. 

" 7 scarcely understand, M. iU- St. .Mais," I said stifHy. 
■ The stroke " 

" Is not allowed." 

*'In the schools," I saifl. " I'.iit this is a duel." 

"I have never seen it used in a dud," \\r s.iid. 

" No niattei," I answered warmly. "To interfere on 
such provocation is absurd." 


" Monsieur ! " 

" Is absurd ! " I repeated firmly. " After such treat- 
ment I have no resource but to withdraw M. le Capi- 
taine from the field." 

"Perhaps you will take his place," some one behind 
me said with a sneer. 

I turned sharply. One of the two persons whom we 
had found with St. Alais was the speaker. I saluted 
him. " The surgeon ? " I said. 

" No," he answered angrily. " I am M. du Marc, 
and very much at your service." 

"But not a second," I rejoined. "And, therefore, 
you have no right to be standing where you are, nor to 
be here. I must request you to withdraw." 

" I have at least as much right as those," he answered, 
pointing to the roof of the Cathedral, over the battle- 
ments of which a number of heads could be seen peer- 
ing down at us. 

I stared. 

" Our friends have at least as much right as yours," 
he continued, taunting me. 

" But they do not interfere," I answered firmly. 
"Nor shall you. I request you to withdraw." 

He still refused, and even tried to bluster ; but this 
proved too much for Louis' stomach ; lie intarvened 
sharply, and at a word from him the bully shrugged his 
shoulders and moved away. Then we four looked at 
one another. 

" We had better proceed," the Captain said bluntly. 
" If the stroke was irregular, this gentleman was right 
to interfere. If not " 

" I am willing," M. de St. Alais said. 

And in a moment the two fell on guard, and to it 
again ; but more fiercely now, and with less caution, 
the Captain more than once using a rough, sweeping 

THE DUEL. 173 

pany, in greater favour with practical fighters than in 
the fencing school. This, though it left him exposed 
to a riposte, seemed to disconcert M. le Marquis, who 
fenced, I thought, less skilfully than before, and more 
than once seemed to be flurried by the Captain's at- 
tack. I began to feel doubtful of the result, my heart 
began to beat more quickly, the glitter of the blades as 
they slid up and down one another confused my sight. 
I looked for one moment across at Louis — and in that 
moment the end came. M. le Capitaine used again his 
sweeping parry, but this time the circle was too wide ; 
St. Alais' blade darted serpent-like under his. The; 
Captain staggered back. His sword dropped from his 

Before he could fall I caught him in my arms, but 
blood was gushing already from a wound in the side of 
his neck. He just turned his eyes to mj^ face, and tried 

once to speak. I caught the words, " You will " 

and then blood choked his voice, and his eyes slowly 
closed. He was dead, or as good as dead, before the 
surgeon could reacli liim, before I could lay him on tlu> 

I knelt a moment beside him perfectly stunned by 
tlie suddenness of the catastrophe ; watching in a kind 
of fascination the surgeon feeling pulse and heart, and 
striving with his thumb to stop the bleeding. For a 
moment or two my world was reduced to the sinking 
grey face, the quivering eyelids before me, and I saw- 
nothing, heeded nothing, thought <»1 nothing else. I 
could not l)elieve that the valiant spirit had fled al- 
ready ; tliat the stout man who had so quickly yet in- 
sensibly won my liking was in this moment dead ; dead 
and growing livid, while the pigeons still circled over- 
head, and the sparrows chirped, and the fountain tinkUul 
in the sunshine. 


I cried out in my agony. " Not dead ? " I said. "Not 
dead so soon ? " 

'' Yes, M. le Yicoiute, it was bad luck," the surgeon 
answered, letting the passive head fall on tiie stained 
grass. " With such a wound nothing can be done." 

He rose as he spoke ; but I remained on my knees, 
wrapt and absorbed ; staring at the glazing eyes that 
a few minutes before had been full of life and keenness. 
Then with a shudder I turned my look on myself. His 
blood covered me ; it was on my breast, my arm, my 
hands, soaking into my coat. From it my thoughts 
turned to St. Alais, and at tlie moment, as I looked in- 
stinctively round to see where he was, or if he had 
gone, I started. The deep boom of a heavy bell, tolled 
once, shook the air ; while its solemn burden still hung 
mournfully on the ear, quick footsteps ran towards me, 
and I heard a harsh cry at my elbow. " But, mon Dieu ! 
This is murder ! They are murdering us ! " 

I looked behind me. The speaker was Du Marc, the 
bully w'ho had vainly tried to provoke me. The two 
St. Alais and the surgeon were with him, and all four 
came from the direction of the door by which we had 
entered. They passed me with averted eyes, and hur- 
ried towards a little postern which flanked the old 
tower, and opened on the ramparts. As they went out 
of sight behind a buttress that intervened the bell 
boomed out again above my head, its dull note full of 

Then I awoke and understood ; understood that the 
noise which filled my ears was not the burden of the 
bell carried on from one deep stroke to another, but 
the roar of angry voices in the square, the babel of an 
approaching crowd crying : ''A la lanterne ! A la laii- 
terne ! " From the battlements of the Cathedral, from 
the louvres of the domes, from every window of the 

THE DUEL. 175 

great crlooiuy structure that frowned above ine, men 
were making signs, and pointing with their hands, and 
brandishing their fists — at mie, I thought at first, or at 
the body at my feet. But then I heard footsteps again, 
and 1 turned and found the other four behind me, close 
to me ; tlie two St. Alais pale and stern, with bright eyes, 
the bully pale, too, but with a look which shot furtively 
here and there, and white lips. 

" Curse them, they are at that door, too ! " he cried 
shrilly. " We are beset. We shall be murdered. By 
God, we shall be murdered, and by these cauaiUe ! By 
these — I call all here to witness that it was a fair fight! 
I call you to witness, M. le Vicomte, that " 

" It will help us much," St. Alais said with a sneer, 
" if he does. If I were once at home " 

" Ay, but how are we to get there ? " Du Marc cried. 
He could not hide his terror. " Do you understand," 
he continued querulously, addressing me, " that we 
shall be murdered? Is there no other door? Speak, 
some one. Speak ! " 

His fears appealed to me in vain. I wolild scarcely 
have stirred a fingei- to save him. But the sight 
of the two St. Alais standing there pale and irresolute, 
while that roar of voices grew each moment louder and 
nearer, moved me. A moment, and the mob would 
break in ; perhaps finding us by Hugues' side, it might 
in its fury sacrifice all indifferently. It might ; and 
then I heard, to give poiiit to the thought, the crash of 
one of the doors of the garden as it gave way ; and I 
cried out almost involuntarily that there was another 
door — another door, if it was open. 1 diil not look to 
see if tlicy followed, but, leaving tlio dc-ad, f took the 
lead, and ran across the sward towards the wall of the 

The crowd were already pouring into the garden, hut 


a ciiuup of shrubs hid us from them as we fled ; and 
we gained unseen a Httle door, a low-browed postern in 
the wall of the apse, that led, I knew — for not long 
before I had conducted an Englisli visitor over the 
Cathedral — to a sacristy connected with the crypt. My 
hope of finding the door open- was slight ; if I had 
stayed to weigh the chances I should have thought 
them desperate. But to my joy as I came up to it, 
closely followed by the others, it opened of itself, and a 
priest, showing his tonsured head in the aperture, 
beckoned to us to hasten. He had little need to do so; 
in a moment we had obeyed, were by his side, and 
panting, heard the bolts shoot home behind us. For 
the moment we were safe. 

Then we breathed again. We stood in the twilight 
of a long narrow room with walls and roof of stone, and 
three loopholes for windows. Du Marc was the first 
to speak. " Mon Dieii, that was close," he said, wiping 
his brow, which in the cold light wore an ugly pallor. 
" We are " 

"Not out*of the wood yet," the surgeon answered 
gravely, " though we have good grounds for thanking 
M. le Vicomte. They have discovered us ! Yes, they 
are coming ! " 

Probably the people on the roof had watched us 
enter and denounced our place of refuge ; for as he 
spoke, we heard a rush of feet, the door shook under a 
storm of blows, and a score of grimy savage faces 
showed at the slender arrow-slits, and glaring down, 
howled and spat curses upon us. Luckily the door 
was of oak, studded and plated with iron, fashioned in 
old, rough days for such an emergency, and we stood 
comparatively safe. Yet it was terrible to hear the 
cries of the mob, to feel them so close, to gauge their 
hatred, and know while they beat on the stone as 

THE DUEL. 177 

though they would tear the walls with their naked 
hands, what it would be to fall into their power ! 

We looked at one another, and — but it may have 
been the dim light — I saw no face that was not pale. 
Fortunately the pause was short. The Cure who had 
admitted us, unlocked as quickly as he could an inner 
door. " This way," he said — but the snarling of the 
beasts outside almost drowned his voice — " if you will 
follow me, I will let you out by the south entrance. 
But, be quick, gentlemen, be quick," he continued, 
pushing us out before him, " or they may guess what 
we are about, and be there before us." 

It may be imagined that after that we lost no time. 
We followed him as quickly as we could along a narrow 
subterranean passage, very dimly lit, at the end of 
which a flight of six steps brought us into a second 
passage. We almost ran along this, and though a 
locked door delayed us a moment— which seemed a 
minute, and a long one — the key was found and the 
door opened. We passed through it, and found our- 
selves in a long narrow room, the counterpart of that 
we had first entered. The cure opened the farther door 
of this ; I looked out. The alley outside, the same 
which led beside the Cathedral to the Chapter HoUse, 
was empty. 

" We are in time," 1 said, with a sigh of relief; it 
was pleasant to breathe the fresh air again. And [ 
turned, still panting with the haste we had made, to 
thank the good Cure who had saved us. 

M. de St. Alais, who followed nic, ;iinl h;i<l kcspt 
silence throughout, thanked him also. Then M. le 
Marquis stood hesitating on the; threshold, whih; I 
looked to see him hurry away. At last he tuiiicd to 
me. " M. d(! Saux," he said, speaking with less 
aplomb than was usual with him -l)ut wc; woe all 



agitated — " I should thank you also. But perhaps the 
situation in which we stand towards one another " 

" I think nothing of that," I answered harshly. " But 
that in which we have just stood " 

"Ah," he rejoined, shrugging his shoulders, " if you 
take it that way " 

" I do take it that way," I answered — the Captain's 
blood was not yet dry on the man's sword, and he spoke 
to me ! " I do take it that way. And I warn you, 
M. le Marquis," I continued sternly, " that if you pur- 
sue your plan further, a plan that has already cost one 
brave man his life, it will recoil on yourselves, and that 
most terribly." 

" At least I shall not ask you to shield me," he 
answered proudly. And he walked carelessly away, 
sheathing his sword as he went. The passage was still 
empty. There was no one to stop him. 

Louis followed him ; Du Marc and the surgeon had 
already disappeared. I fancied that as Louis passed 
me he hung a moment on his heel ; and that he would 
have spoken to me, would have caught my eye, would 
have taken my hand, had I given him an opening. But 
I saw before me Hugues' dead face and sunken 
eyes, and I set my own face like a stone, and turned 




For, of all the things that had happened since I left the 
Committee Room, the Captain's death remained the 
one most real and most deeply bitten into my mind. 
He had shared with me the walk from the inn to the 
garden, and the petty annoyances that had then filled 
my thoughts. He had faced them with me, and bravely ; 
and this late association, and the picture of him as he 
walked beside me, full of life and coarse wrath, rose up 
now and cried out against his death ; cried out that it 
was impossible. Ho that it seemed horrible to me, and 
I shook with fear, and loathed the man whose liand 
had done it. 

Nor was that all. I had known Hugues barely forty- 
eight hours, my liking for him was only an hour boi'n ; 
but 1 had his story. I could follow him going about to 
borrow the small sum of money he had possessed. I 
could trace the hopes he had built on it. I could see 
him coming here full of lionest courage, believing that 
he had found an opening; a man strong, confident, 
looking forward, full of plans. And tlion of ;ill. iliis 
was the end ! lie had hoped, he had pmposcd; and on 
the oth(!r sido (;f the Catlicdral, he lay stark — stark 
and dead on the grass. 

It seemed so sad and pitiliil, 1 liad liic man so 
vividly in my mind, that I scarcely gave a thought to 
the St. Alais' danger and escape; that, and oui' hasty 
lliglit, liad passed like a dream. 1 was contcjit to listen 


a moment beside the church door ; and then satisfied 
that the mm*mur of the crowd was dying in the distance, 
and that the city was quiet, I thanked the Vicar again, 
and warmly, and, taking leave of him, in my turn 
walked up the passage. 

It was so still that it echoed my footsteps ; and pre- 
sently I began to think the silence odd. I began to 
wonder why the mob, w4hch a few minutes before had 
shown itself so vindictive, had not found its way round; 
wh}' the neighbourhood had become on a sudden so 
quiet. A few paces would show, however ; I hastened 
on, and in a moment stood in the market-place. 

To my astonishment it lay sunny, tranquil, utterly 
deserted ; a dog ran here and there with tail high, 
nosing among the garbage ; a few old women were at 
the stalls on the farther side ; about as many people 
were busy, putting up shutters and closing shops. But 
the crowd which had filled the place so short a time 
before, the quelle about the corn measures, the white 
cockades, all were gone ; I stood astonished. 

For a moment only, however. Then, in place of the 
silence which had prevailed between the high walls of 
the passage, a dull sound, distant and heavy, began to 
speak to me ; a sullen roar, a.s of breakers falling on 
the beach. I started and listened. A moment more, 
and I was across the Square, and at the door of the inn. 
I darted into the passage, and up the stairs, my heart 
beating fast. 

Here, too, I had left a crowd in the passages, and 
on the stairs. Not a man remained. The house seemed 
to be dead ; at noon-day with the sun shining outside. 
I saw no one, heard no one, until I reached the door 
of the room in which I had left the Committee and 
entered. Here, at last, I found life ; but the same 


Eound the table were seated some dozen of the mem- 
bers of the Committee. On seeing me they started, 
like men detected in an act of which they were ashamed, 
some continuing to sit, sullen and scowling, with their 
elbows on the table, others stooping to their neigh- 
bours' ears to whisper, or listen. I noticed that many 
were pale and all gloomy ; and though the room was 
light, and hot noon poured in through three windows, 
a something grim in the silence, and the air of ex- 
pectation which prevailed, struck a chill to my heart. 

Father Benoit was not of them, but Buton was, and 
the lawyer, and the grocer, and the two gentlemen, and 
one of the Cures, and Doury — the last-named pale and 
cringing, with fear sitting heavily on him. I might 
have thought, at a first glance round, that nothing which 
had happened outside was known to them ; that they 
were ignorant alike of the duel and the riot ; but a 
second glance assured me that they knew all, and more 
than I did ; so many of them, when they had once met 
ray eyes, looked away. 

" What has happened ? " I asked, standing lialf- way 
between the door and the long table. 

" Don't you know, Monsieur? " 

" No," r muttorod, staring at them. Even here that 
distant murmur filled the aii'. 

" But you were at the duel, M. Ic Vic(;mtc V " The 
speaker was Buton. 

" Yes," I said nervously. " I^ut what of that ? I saw 
M. In Marquis safe on his way home, and I tliimglii 

that the crowd had separated. Xow " and I 

paused, listening. 

" You fancy that you still licai' thorn?" lif said, eyi)ig 
me closely and smiling. 

" Yes; I fear that they are at mischief." 

" We are afraid of that, too," the smitli answered 

1 82 rilK RED COCKADE. 

drily, setting; his elbows on the table, and lookinj:^ at 
me anew. " It is not impossible." 

Then i understood. I caught Doury's eye —which 
would fain have escaped mine — and read it there. Tlie 
hooting of the distant crowd rose more loudly on the 
summer stillness ; as it did so, faces round the table 
grew graver, lips grew longer, some trembled and 
looked down; and I understood. "My God!" I cried 
in excitement, trembling myself. " Is no one going to 
do anything, then ? Are you going to sit here, while 
these demons work their will? While houses are 
sacked and women and children " 

"Why not?" Buton said curtly. 

"Why not?" I cried. 

"Ay, why not?" he answered sternly— and I began 
to see that he dominated the others ; that he would not 
and they dared not. " We went about to keep the 
peace, and see that othei's kept it. But your white 
cockades, your gentlemen bullies, your soldierless 
officers, M. le Vicomte — I speak without offence — 
would not have it. They undertook to bully us ; and 
unless they learn a lesson now, they will bully us again. 
No, Monsieur," he continued, looking round with a 
hard smile — already power had changed him won- 
drously — " let the people have their way for half an 
hour, and " 

"The people?" I cried. "Are the rascals and 
sweepings of the streets, the gaol-birds, the beggars and 
forgats of the town — are they the people ? " 

" No matter," he said frowning. 

" But this is murder I " 

Two or three shivered, and some looked sullenly from 
me, but the blacksmith only shrugged his shoulders. 
Still I did not despair, I was going to say more — to try 
threats, even prayers ; but before I could speak, the 


man nearest to the windows raised his hand for silence, 
and we heard the distant riot sink, and in the roonien- 
tary quiet which followed the sharp report of a gun 
ring out, succeeded by another and another. Then a 
roar of rage — distinct, articulate, full of menace. 

" Oh, mon Dieu ! " I cried, looking round, while I 
trembled with indignation, " T cannot stand this ! Will 
no one act '? Will no one do anything ? There must 
be some authorit3\ There must be some one to curb 
this canaille ; or presently, I warn you, I warn you all, 
that they will cut 5'our throats also ; yours, M. I'Avoue, 
and yours, Doury ! " 

" There was some one ; and he is dead," Buton 
answered. The rest of the Committee lidgeted 

" And was he the only one ? " 

" They've killed him," the smith said bluntly. "They 
must take the consequences." 

"They?" I cried, in a passion of wrath and pity. 
" Ay, and you ! And you ! I tell you that you are 
using this scum of the people to crush your enemies ! 
But presently they will crush you too ! " 

Still 110 one spoke, no one answered me ; no eyes 
met mine ; then I saw how it was ; that nothing I 
could say would move them ; and I turned without 
another word, and I ran downstairs. I knew already, 
or could guess, whither the crowd had gone, and whence 
came tlie shouting and the shots ; and the moment I 
reached the Square I turncil in tlic direction of the St. 
Alais' liouse, imd ran tiirough ilic streets; through 
quiet streets under windows from whicli wnnn n looked 
down wliitc and curious, past neat green blinds of 
modf!rn houses, past a f(!W staring groups ; ran on, with 
all about me smiling, but always wifli that nnn-nnii- in 
my ears. :ind at my heart grim fear. 


They were sacking the St. Alais' house ! And Made- 
moiselle ! And Madame ! 

The thought of them came to me late ; but having 
come it was not to be displaced. It gripped my heart 
and seemed to stop it. Had I saved Mademoiselle only 
for this '? Had I risked all to save her from the fren- 
zied peasants, only that she might fall into the more 
cruel hands of these maddened wretches, these sweep- 
ings of the city ? 

It was a dreadful thought ; for I loved her, and knew, 
as I ran, that I loved her. Had I not known it I must 
have known it now, by the very measure of agony 
which the thought of that horror caused me. The dis- 
tance from the Trois Rois to the house was barely four 
hundred yards, but it seemed infinite to me. It seemed 
an age before I stopped breathless and panting on the 
verge of the crowd, and strove to see, across the plain 
of heads, what was happening in front. 

A moment, and I made out enough to relieve me ; 
and I breathed more freely. The crowd had not yet 
won its will. It filled the street on either side of the 
St. Alais' house from wall. to wall ; but in front of the 
house itself, a space was still kept clear by the fire of 
those within. Now and again, a man or a knot of men 
would spring out of the ranks of the mob, and darting 
across this open space to the door, would strive to beat 
it in with axes and bars, and even with naked hands ; 
but always there came a puff of smoke from the shut- 
tered and loop-holed windows, and a second and a 
third, and the men fell back, or sank down on the 
stones, and lay bleeding in the sunshine. 

It was a terrible sight. The wild beast rage of the 
mob, as they watched their leaders fall, yet dared not 
make the rush en masse which must carry the place, 
was enough, of itself, to appal the stoutest. But when 


to this and their fiendish cries were added other sounds 
as horrid — the screams of the wounded and the rattle 
of musketry — for some of the moh had arms, and were 
firing from neighbouring houses at the St. Alais' win- 
dows — the effect was appalhng. I do not know why, 
but the sunshine, and the tall white houses which 
formed the street, and the very neatness of the surround- 
ings, seemed to aggravate the bloodshed ; so that for a 
while the whole, the writhing crowd, the open space with 
its wounded, the ugly cries and curses and shots, seemed 
unreal. I, who had come hot-foot to risk all, hesitated ; 
if this was Cahors, if this was the quiet town I had 
known all my life, things had come to a pass indeed. 
If not, I was dreaming. 

But this last was a thought too wild to be enter- 
tained for more than a few seconds ; and with a groan 
I thrust myself into the press, bent desperately on 
getting through and reaching the open space ; though 
what I siiould do when I got there, or how I could 
help, I had not considered. I had scarcely moved, 
however, when I felt my arm gripped, and some one 
clinging obstinately to me, held me back. I turned to 
resent the action with a blow, — I was beside myself ; 
but the man was Father Benoit, and my hand fell. T 
caught hold of him with a cry of joy, and lie drew me 
out of the press. 

His face was pale and full (jf gi'ici aj id consternation ; 
yet by a wonderful chance I had found him, and I 
hoped. " You can do something ! " I cried in his ear, 
gripping his hand hard. " The Committee will not act, 
and this is nmrder ! Murder, man ! Do you see ? " 

" What can I do?" he wailed ; and lu' tlirr-w u|) ins 
otlier hand with a gesture of despair. 

" Speak to them." 

"Speak to tliciM?" lit' answered. " Will iii;i(l dogs 

tS6 the red cockade. 

stand when you speak to them? Or will mad dogs f 
listen ? How can you <:;et to them ? Where can you 
speak to them ? It is impossible. It is impossible, 
Monsieur. They would kill their fathers to-day, if they 
stood between them and vengeance." 

" Then, what will you do ? " I cried passionately. 
" What will you do ? " 

He shook his head ; and I saw that he meant nothing, 
that he could do nothing. And then my soul revolted. 
"You must! You shall!" I cried fiercely. "You 
have raised this devil, and you must lay him ! Are 
these the liberties about which you have talked to us ? 
Are these the people for whom you have pleaded? 
Answer, answer me, what you will do ! " I cried. And 
I shook him furiously. 

He covered his face with his hand. "God forgive 
us ! " he said. " God help us ! " 

I looked at him for the first and only time in my life 
with contempt — with rage. "God help you?" I cried 
— I was beside myself. " God helps those who help 
themselves ! You have brought this about ! You ! 
You ! You have preached this ! Now mend it ! " 

He trembled, and was silent. Unsupported by the 
passion which animated me, in face of the brute rage 
of the people, his courage sank. 

" Now mend it ! " I repeated furiously. 

" I cannot get to them," he muttered. 

"Then I will make a way for you!" I answered 
madly, recklessly. " Follow me ! Do you hear that 
noise ? Well, we will play a part in it ! " 

A dozen guns had gone off, almost in a volley. We 
could not see the result, nor what was passing ; but 
the hoarse roar of the mob intoxicated me. I cried to 
him to follow, and rushed into the press. 

Again he caught and stayed me, clinging to me with 


a stubbornness which would not be denied. " If you 
will go, go through the houses ! Go through the 
opposite houses ! " he muttered in my ear. 

I had sense enough, when he had spoken twice, to 
understand him and comply. I let him lead me aside, 
and in a moment we were out of the press, and hurry- 
in» through an alley at the back of the houses that 
faced the St. Alais' mansion. We were not the first 
to go that way ; some of the more active of the rioters 
had caught the idea before us, and gone by this path to 
the windows, whence they were firing. We found two or 
three of the doors open, therefore, and heard the excited 
cries and curses of the men who had taken possession. 
However, we did not go far. I chose the first door, 
and, passing quickly by a huddled, panic-stricken group 
of women and children — probably the occupants of the 
house — who were clustered about it, I went straight 
through to the street door. 

Two or three rulfianly men with smoke-grimed faces 
were firing through a window on the ground floor, and 
one of these, looking behind him as I passed, saw me. 
He called to me to stop, adding with an oath that if I 
went into the street I should be shot by the aristocrats. 
But in my excitement I took no heed ; in a second I 
had the door open, and was standing in the street — 
alone in the sunny, cleared space. On either side of 
me, fifty paces distant, were the close ranks of the 
mob ; in front of me rose the white blind face of the 
St. Alais' house, from which, even as I appeared, there 
came a little spit of smoke and the bang of a nuisket. 

The crowd, astonished to see me there alone and 
standing still, fell silent, and I held nj) niy huiul. A 
gun w«:nt off aVjove my licad, niid unother ; and a 
s])linter flew from one; of the green siiiittcrs opposite. 
Then a voice from the crowd cried out to cease firing ; 


and for a moment all was still. I stood in the midst 
of a hot hreathless luish, my liaiid raised. It was my 
opportunity — I had ^ot it by a miracle ; but for a 
moment I was silent, I could find no words. 

At last, as a low murmur began to make itself heard, 
I spoke. 

"Men of Cahors ! " I cried. "In the name of the 
Tricolour, stand ! " And trembling with agitation, 
acting on the impulse of the instant, I walked slowly 
across the street to the door of the besieged house, 
and under the eyes of all I took the Tricolour from 
my bosom, and hung it on the knocker of the door. 
Then I turned. " I take possession," I cried hoarsely, 
at the top of my voice, that all might hear, " I take 
possession of this house and all that are in it in the 
name of the Tricolour, and the Nation, and the Com- 
mittee of Cahors. Those within shall be tried, and 
justice done upon them. But for you, I call upon you 
to depart, and go to your homes in peace, and the 
Committee " 

I got no farther. With the word a shot whizzed by 
my ear, and struck the plaster from the wall ; and then, 
as if the sound released all the passions of the people, 
a roar of indignation shook the air. They hissed and 
swore at me, yelled " A la lanterne ! " and " A has le 
traitre!" and in an instant burst their bounds. As if 
invisible floodgates gave way, the mob on either side 
rushed suddenly forward, and, rolling towards the door 
in a solid mass, were in an instant upon me. 

I expected that I should be torn to pieces, but instead 
I was only buffeted and flung aside and forgotten, 
and in a moment was lost in the struggling, writhing 
mass of men, who flung themselves pell-mell upon the 
door, and fell over one another, and wounded one 
another in the fury with which they attacked it. Men, 


injured earlier, were trodden under foot now ; but no 
one staj^ed for their cries. Twice a gun was fired from 
the house, and each shot took effect ; but the press 
was so great, and the fury of the assailants, as they 
swarmed about the door, so blind, that those who were 
hit sank down unobserved, and perished under their 
comrades' feet. 

Thrust against the iron railings that flanked the door, 
I clung to them, and protected from the pressure by a 
pillar of the porch, managed with some difficulty to 
keep my place. I could not move, however ; I had to 
stand there while the crowd swayed round me, and 
I waited in. dizz)', sickening horror for the crisis. 
It came at last. The panels of the door, riven and 
shattered, gave way ; the foremost assailants sprang at 
the gap. Yet still the frame, held by one hinge, stood, 
and kept them out. As that yielded at length under 
their blows, and the door fell inward with a crash, I 
flung myself into the stream, and was carried into the 
house among the foremost, fortunately — for several fell 
— on my feet. 

I had the thought tliat 1 might outpace the others, 
and, getting first to the rooms upstairs, might at least 
fight for Mademoiselle if I could not save her. For I 
had caught the infection of the mob, my blood was on 
fire. There was no one in all the crowd more set to 
kill than 1 was. I raced in, therefore, with tlie i"est ; 
but when I reached the foot of the stairs 1 saw, and 
they saw, that which stopped us all. 

It was M. de Gcjntaut, lifted, in that moment of 
extreme danger, above himself, lie stood alone; (in the 
stairs, looking down on the invaders, and smiling — 
.smiling, with everything of senility and lii\<)lity gone 
from his face, and only tlu; courage of his caste left. He 
saw his world tottering, the scum .iiid rabble (»V( rw liclin- 

1 90 


ing it, everything which he had loved, and in which he 
had hved, passing ; he saw death waiting for him seven 
steps below, and he smiled. With his slender sword 
hanging at his wrist, he tapped his snuff-box and looked 
down at us ; no longer garrulous, feeble, almost — with 
his stories of stale intiigues and his pagan creed — con- 
temptible ; but steady and proud, with eyes that gleamed 
with defiance. 

" Well, dogs," he said, " will you earn the gallows? " 

For a second no one moved. For a second the old 
noble's presence and fearlessness imposed on the vilest; 
and they stared at him, cowed by his eye. Then he 
stirred. With a quiet gesture, as of a man saluting 
before a duel, he caught up the hilt of his sword, and 
presented the lower point. " Well," he said with 
bitter scorn in his tone, "you have come to do it. 
Which of you will go to hell for the rest ? For I shall 
take one." 

That broke the spell. With a howl, a dozen ruffians 
sprang up the stairs. I saw the bright steel flash once, 
twice ; and one reeled back, and rolled down under his 
fellows' feet. Then a great bar swept up and fell on the 
smiling face, and the old noble dropped without a cry 
or a groan, under a storm of blows that in a moment 
beat the life out of his body. 

It was over in a moment, and before I could inter- 
fere. The next, a score of men leaped over the corpse 
and up the stairs, with horrid cries — I after them. To 
the right and left were locked doors, with panels 
Watteau-painted ; they dashed these in with brutal 
shouts, and, in a twinkling, flooded the splendid rooms, 
sweeping away, and breaking, and flinging down in 
wanton mischief, everything that came to hand — vases, 
statues, glasses, miniatures. With shrieks of triumph, 
they filled the saluii that had known for generations 


only the graces and beauty of life ; and clattered over 
the sliining parquets that had been swept so long by 
the skirts of fair women. Everything they could not 
understand was snatched up and dashed down ; in a 
moment the great Venetian mirrors were shattered, 
the pictures pierced and torn, the books flung through 
the windows into the street. 

I had a glimpse of the scene as I paused on the land- 
ing. But a glance sufficed to convince me that the 
fugitives were not in these rooms, and I sprang on, and 
up the next flight. Here, short as had been my delay, 
I found others before me. As I turned the corner of 
the stairs I came on three men, listening at a door ; 
before I could reach them one rose. " Here they are!" 
he cried. " That is a woman's voice ! Stand back ! " 
And he lifted a crov/bar to beat in the door. 

" Hold ! " I cried in a voice that shook him, and 
made him lower his weapon. " Hold ! In the name 
of the Committee, I command you to leave that door. 
The rest of the house is yours. Go and plunder it." 

The men glared at me. " Sacre ventre ! " one of 
them hissed. " Who are you ? " 

" The Committee ! " I answered. 

He cursed me, and raised his hand, " Stand back ! ' 
I cried furiously, " or you shall hang ! " 

"Ho! ho! An aristocrat!" he retorted; and he 
raised his voice. " This way, friends — this way! An 
aristocrat ! An aristocrat ! " he cried. 

At the word a score of his fellows came swarming up 
the stairs. I saw myself in an instant smri»iiii(l((l hy 
grimy, pocked faces and scowling eyes, — by liaggard 
creatures sprung from the sewers of the town. Another 
second and they would liave laid liands 011 luc ; but 
desperate and full of rage 1 rushed instead on tlie man 
with the bar, and, snatcliing it from liiin before lie 


guessed my intention, in a twinkling laid him at my 

In the act, however, I lost my balance, and stumbled. 
Before I could recover myself one of his comrades 
struck me on the head with his wooden shoe. The 
blow partially stunned me ; still I got to my feet again 
and hit out wildly, and drove them back, and for a 
moment cleared the landing round me. But I was 
dizzy ; I saw all now through a red haze, the figures 
danced before me ; I could no longer think or aim, but 
only hear taunts and jeers on every side. Some one 
plucked my coat. I turned blindly. In a moment 
another struck me a crushing blow — how, or with what, 
I never knew — and I fell senseless and as good as dead. 




It was August, and the leaves of the chestnuts were 
still green, when they sacked the St. Alais' house at 
Cahors, and I fell senseless on the stairs. The ash 
trees were bare, and the oaks clad only in russet, when 
I began to know things again ; and, looking sideways 
from my pillow into the grey autumnal world, took up 
afresh the task of living. Even then many days had 
to elapse before I ceased to be merely an animal — con- 
tent to eat, and drink, and sleep, and take Father 
Benoit kneeling by my bed for one of the permanent 
facts of life. But the time did come at last, in late 
November, when the mind awoke, as those who 
watched by me had never thought to see it awake ; and, 
meeting the good Cure's eyes with my eyes, I saw him 
turn away and break into joyful weeping. 

A week from that time I knew all — the story, public 
and private, of that wonderful autumn, during which I 
had lain like a log in my bed. At first, avoiding topics 
that touched me too nearly. Father Benoit told mc of 
Paris ; of the ten weeks of suspicion and suspense which 
followed the Bastille riots — weeks during which the 
Fauxbourgs, scantly checked by Lafayette and his 
National Guards, kept jealous watch on Versailles, 
where the Assembly sat in attendance on the King ; of 
the scarcity which prevailed through this trying time, and 
the constant rumours of an attack by th(^ Court ; of the 


T94 'I'i^ll^ i^l'-i^ COCKADE. 

Queen's unfortunate banquet, which proved to be the 
spark that fired the mine ; last of all, of the great march 
of the women to Versailles, on the 5th of October, which, 
by forcing the King and the Assembly to Paris, and 
making the King a prisoner in his own palace, put 
an end to this period of uncertainty. 

" And since then ? " I said in feeble amaze- 
ment. " This is the 20th of November, you tell 
me ? " 

"Nothing has happened," he answered, "except 
signs and symptoms." 
" And those '? " 

He shook his head gravely. " Every one is enrolled 
in the National Guards — that, for one. Here in Quercy, 
the corps which M. Hugues took it in hand to form 
numbers some thousands. Every one is armed, there- 
fore. Then, the game laws being abolished, every one 
is a sportsman. And so many nobles have emigrated, 
that either there are no nobles or all are nobles." 
"But who governs ? " 

" The Municipalities. Or, where there are none, 

I could not help smiling. " And your Committee, 
M. le Cure ? " I said. 

" I do not attend it," he answered, wincing visibly. 
" To be plain, they go too fast for me. But I have 
worse yet to tell you ! " 
" What ? " 

" On the Fourth of August the Assembly abolished 
the tithes of the Church ; early in this month they 
proposed to confiscate the estates of the Church ! By 
this time it is probably done." 

" What ! And the clergy are to starve ? " I cried in 

" Not quite," he answered, smiling sadly. " They 


are to be paid by the State— as long as they please the 
State ! •' 

He went soon after he had told nie that ; and I lay 
in amazement, looking through the window, and striv- 
ing to picture the changed world that existed round 
me. Presently Andre came in with my broth. I 
thought it weak, and said so ; the strong gust of out- 
side life, which the news had brought into my chamber, 
had roused my appetite, and given me a distaste for 
tisanes and slops. 

But the old fellow took the complaint very ill. 
" Well," he grumbled, " and what else is to be expected. 
Monsieur? With httle rent paid, and half the pigeons 
in the cot slaughtered, and scarcely a hare left in the 
country side ? With all the world shooting and snaring, 
and smiths and tailors cocked up on horses — ay, and 
with swords by their sides — and the gentry gone, or 
hiding their heads in beds, it is a small thing if the 
broth is weak ! If M. le Vicomte liked strong broth, 
he should have been wise enough to kec]) the cow 
himself, and not " 

" Tut, tut, man ! " T said, wincing in niv tui'n. 
" What of Buton?" 

" Monsieur means M. le Capitaine Buton ? " the old 
man answered with a sneer. " He is at Cahors." 

" And was any one punished for — for the affair at 
St. Alais ? " 

" No one is punished now-a-days," Andre replied 
tartly. "Except sometimes a luillci-, wlio is liung 
because corn is dear." 

" Then even Petit Jean " 

" Petit Jean went to Paris. Duubllcss he is now a 
Major or a Colonel." 

With this shot the old man left me — left inc wiitli- 
ing. For througl: ;ill I had not dared to ask the one 


thing I wished to know ; the one thing that, as my 
strength increased, had grown with it, from a vague 
apprehension of evil, wliich the mind, when bidden do 
its duty, failed to grasp, to a dreadful anxiety only too 
well understood and defined ; a brooding fear that 
weighed upon me like an evil dreau], and in spite of 
youth sapped my life, and retarded my recovery. 

I have read that a fever sometimes burns out love ; 
and that a man rises cured not only of his illness, but 
of the passion which consumed him, when he succumbed 
to it. But this was not my fate ; from the moment 
when that dull anxiety about I knew not what took 
shape and form, and I saw on the green curtains of 
my bed a pale child's face — a face that now wept and 
now gazed at me in sad appeal — from that moment 
Mademoiselle was never out of my waking mind for an 
hour. God knows, if any thought of me on her part, 
if any silent cry of her heart to me in her troubles, had 
to do with this ; but it was the case. 

However, on the next day the fear and the weight 
were removed. I suppose that Father Benuit had 
made up his mind to broach the subject, which liitherto 
he had shunned with care ; for his first question, after 
he had learned how I did, brouglit it up. "You have 
never asked what happened after you were injured, M. 
le Vicomte?" he said with a little hesitation. "Do 
you remember ? " 

" I remember all," I said with a groan. 

He drew a breath of relief. I think he had feared 
that there was still something amiss with the brain. 
" And yet you have never asked?" he said. 

" Man ! cannot you understand why — why I have 
not asked ? " I cried hoarsely, rising, and sinking back 
in my seat in uncontrollable agitation. " Cannot you 
understand that until I asked I had hope ? But now, 


torture me no longer ! Tell me, tell me all, man, and 
then " 

" There is nothing but good to tell," he answered 
cheerfully, endeavouring to dispel my fears at the first 
word. " You know the worst. Poor M. de Gontaut 
was killed on the stairs. He was too infirm to flee. 
The rest, to the meanest servant, got away over the 
roofs of the neighbouring houses." 

"And escaped? " 

" Yes. The town was in an uproar for many hours, 
but they were well hidden. I believe that they have 
left the country." 

" You do not know where they are, then ? " 

"No," he answered, " I never saw any of them after 
the outbreak. But I heard of them being in this or 
that chateau — at the Harincourts', and elsewhere. 
Then the Harincourts left— about the middle of 
October, and I think that M. de St. Alais and his 
family went with them." 

I lay for a while too full of tliankfulness to speak. 
Then, " And you know nothing more '? " 

" Nothing," the Cure answered. 

J3ut that was enough for me. When he came again 
I was able to walk with him on the terrace, and after 
that I gained strength rapidly, i remarked, however, 
that as my spirits rose, with air and exercise., the good 
priest's declined. His kind, sensitive face grew day 
by day more sombre, his fits (jf silence longer. Wiien 
I asked him the reason, " It goes ill, it goes ill," he 
said. " And, Ood fo)give nu;, 1 had to do witli it." 

■' Who had not?" 1 said sob(!rly. 

"But I should have foreseen ! " he answered, winiging 
his hands openly. " I should have known that God's 
first gift to man was Order. ')rdci-, ;ind to-day, in 
Cahors, there is no tribunal, or none ihat acts: the old 


magistrates are afraid, and the old laws are spurned, 
and no man can even recover a debt ! Order, and the 
worst thing a criminal, thrown into prison, has now to 
fear is that he may be forgotten. Order, and I see 
arms everywhere, and men who cannot read teaching 
those who can, and men who pay no taxes disposing of 
the money of those who do ! I see famine in the town, 
and the farmers and the peasants killing game or fold- 
ing their hands ; for who will work when the future is 
uncertain '? I see the houses of the rich empty, and 
their servants starving ; I see all trade, all commerce, 
all buying and selling, except of the barest necessaries, 
at an end ! I see all these things, M. le Vicomte, and 
shall I not say, ' Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa ' ! " 

"But liberty," I said feebly. " You once said your- 
self that a certain price must " 

"Is liberty licence to do wrong'?" he answered with 
passion — seldom had I seen him so moved. " Is 
liberty licence to rob and blaspheme, and move your 
neighbour's landmark? Does tyranny cease to be 
tyranny, when the tyrants are no longer one, but a 
thousand ? M. le Vicomte, I know not what to do, I 
know not what to do," he continued. "For a little I 
would go out into the world, and at all costs unsay 
what I have said, undo what I have done ! I would ! 
I would indeed ! " 

"Something more has happened?" I said, startled 
by this outbreak. " Something I have not heard?" 

" The Assembly took away our tithes and our 
estates ! " he answered bitterly. " That you know. They 
denied our existence as a Church. That you know. 
They have now decreed the suppression of all religious 
houses. Presently they will close also our churches 
and cathedrals. And we shall be pagans ! " 

" Impossible ! " I said. 


"But it is true." 

" The suppression, yes. But for the churches and 
cathedrals " 

"Why not?" he answered despondently. "God 
knows there is little faith abroad. I fear it will come. 
I see it corning. The greater need — that we who be- 
lieve should testify." 

I did not quite understand at the time what he meant 
or would be at, or what he had in his mind ; but I saw 
that his scrupulous nature was tormented by the thought 
that he had hastened the catastrophe; and I felt uneasy 
when he did not appear next day at his usual time for 
visiting me. On the following day he came ; but was 
downcast and taciturn, taking leave of me when he 
went with a sad kindness that almost made me call 
him back. The next day again he did not appear ; nor 
the day after that. Then I sent for him, but too late ; 
I sent, only to learn from his old housekeeper that he 
liad left home suddenly, after arranging with a neigh- 
bouring cure to have his duties performed for a month. 

I was able by this time to go abroad a little, and I 
walked down to his cottage ; I could learn no more 
there, however, than that a Capuchin monk had been 
his guest for two nights, and that M. le Cure had left 
for Cahors a few hours after the monk. That was all ; 
I returned depressed and dissatisfied. Such villagers 
as I met by tiie way greeted me with respect, and even 
with syin))atliy — it was the first time 1 had gone into 
the hamlet ; but the shadow of suspicion whicii I had 
detected on their faces some months before iiad grown 
deeper and darker with time. They no longer knew 
with certainty tlieir places or mine, their rights or 
mine ; and shy of me and doul)tful of themselves, were 
glad to part from me. 

Near the gates of tiie avenue I met ii man whom 1 


knew ; a wine-dealer from Aulnoy. I stayed to ask 
him if the family were at home. 

He looked at me in surprise. " No, M. le Vicomte," 
he said. " They left the country some weeks ago — 
after the King was persuaded to go to Paris." 

"And M. le Baron?" 

" He too." 

"For Paris?" 

The man, a respectable bourgeois, grinned at me. 
"No, Monsieur, I fancy not," he said. "You know 
best, M. le Vicomte ; but if I said Turin, I doubt I 
should be little out." 

" I have been ill," I said. "And have heard 

" You should go into Cahors," he answered ; with 
rough good-nature. " Most of the gentry are there — 
if they have not gone farther. It is safer than the 
country in these days. Ah, if my father had lived to 

He did not finish the sentence in words, but raised 
his eyebrows and shoulders, saluted me, and rode away. 
In spite of his surprise it was easy to see that the change 
pleased him, though he veiled his satisfaction out of 

I walked home feeling lonely and depressed. The tall 
stone house, the seigneurial tower and turret and dove- 
cot, stripped of the veil of foliage that in summer 
softened their outlines, stood up bare and gaunt at the 
end of the avenue ; and seemed in some strange way 
to share my loneliness and to speak to me of evil days 
on which we had alike fallen. In losing Father Benoit 
I had lost my only chance of society just when, with re- 
turning strength, the desire for companionship and a 
more active life was awakening. I thought of this 
gloomily ; and then was delighted to see, as I ap- 


proached the door, a horse tethered to the ring beside it. 
There were holsters on the saddle, and the girths were 

Andre was in the hall, but to my surprise, instead of 
informing me that there was a visitor, he went on dust- 
ing a table, with his back to me. 

" Who is here? " I said sharply. 

" No one," he answered. 

" No one? Then whose is that horse?" 

" The smith's, Monsieur." 

"What? Buton's?" 

"Ay, Buton's ! It is a new thing hanging" it at the 
front door," he added, with a sneer. 

" But what is he doing? Where is he ?" 

" He is where he ought to be ; and that is at the 
stables," the old fellow answered doggedly. "I'll be 
bound that it is the first piece of honest work he has 
done for many a day." 

" Is he shoeing?" 

" Why not? Does Monsieur want liun lo dnie with 
him?" was the ill-tempersd retort. 

T took no Jiotice of this, but went to the stables. I 
conld hear the bellows heaving ; and turning the corner 
of the building I came on Buton at work in the forge 
with two of his men. The smith was stripped to his 
shirt, and with his great' leather a])ron round him, and 
his bare, blackened arms, locjked like the Baton of six 
months ago. But outside the forge lay a little heap 
of clotlies neatly fold(!(i, a blue coat with nul facings, a 
long blue waistcoat, iind ;i liat with a liiigc t I'icoi'Xir ; 
and as Im' rnlcasod tlie ho»s(/s hoof on \\ln<li lie at 
work, and stiiiighteiied himself to salute mc, Ik; looked 
at me witii a new look, that was something between 
appeal and defiance. 

" Tut, tut ! " I said, lleering at him. " 'I'liis is too 


great an honour, M. le Capitaine ! To be shod by a 
member of the Committee ! " 

" Has M. le Vicomte anything of which to com- 
plain ? " he said, reddening under the deep tan of his 

"I? No, indeed. I am only overwhelmed by the 
honour you do me." 

" I have been here to shoe once a month," he per- 
sisted stubbornly. " Does Monsiem^ complain that the 
horses have suiTered ? " 

" No. But " 

" Has M. le Vicomte's house suffered ? Has so much 
as a stack of his corn been burned, or a colt taken from 
the fields, or an egg from the nest? " 

" No," I said. 

Buton nodded gloomily. " Then if Monsieur has no 
fault to find," he replied, " perhaps he will let me finish 
my work. Afterwards I wall deliver a message I have 
for him. But it is for his ear, and the forge " 

" Is not the place for secrets, though the smith is the 
man ! " I answered, with a parting gibe, fired over my 
shoulders. " Well, come to me on the terrace when 
you have finished." 

He came an hour later, looking hugely clumsy in his 
fine clothes ; and with a sword — heaven save us ! — a 
sword by his side. Presently the murder came out ; 
he was the bearer of a commission appointing me 
Lieutenant-Colonel in the National Guard of the Pro- 
vince. " It was given at my request," he said, with 
awkward pride. " There were some, M. le Vicomte, 
who thought that you had not behaved altogether well 
in the matter of the riot, but I rattled their heads 
together. Besides I said, ' No Lieutenant-Colonel, no 
Captain ! ' and they cannot do without me. I keep this 
side quiet." 


What a position it was ! Ah, what a position it was ! 
And how for a moment the absurdity of it warred in 
my mind with the hmnihation ! Six months before I 
should have torn up the paper in a fury, and flung it in 
his face, and beaten him out of my presence with my 
cane. But much had happened since then ; even the 
temptation to break into laughter, into peal upon peal 
of gloomy merriment, was not now invincible. I over- 
came it b)' ^n effort, partly out of prudence, partly from 
a better motive — a sense of the man's rough fidelity 
amid circumstances, and in face of anomalies, the most 
trying. I thanked him instead, therefore — though I 
almost choked ; and I said I would write to the Com- 

Still he lingered, rubbing one great foot against 
another ; and I waited with mock politeness to hear 
his business. At length, " There is another thing I 
wish to say, M. le Vicomte," he growled. " M. le Cure 
has left Saux." 


" Well, he is a good man ; oi' he was a good man," 
he continued grudgingly. " But he is running into 
trouble, and you would do well to let liini know that." 

" Why ? " I said. " Do you know where he is '? " 

" I can guess," he answered. " And where others 
are, too ; and where there will presently be trouble. 
These Capucliin monks are not about the country for 
nothing. When the crows fly home there will be 
troul^ie. And I do not want him to be in it." 

" I have not the least idea where he is," I said coldly. 
" Nor what you mean.' The smith's tone had changed 
and grown savage and churlish. 

" He has gone to Nimes," he answered. 

"To Nimes?" I cried in astonishment. " Mow do 
you know? It is more than I l<now." 


" I do know," he answered. " And what is brewing 
there. And so do a great many more. But this time 
the St. Alais and their bulhes, M. le Vicomte — ay, they 
are all there — will not escape us. We will break their 
necks. Yes, M. le Vicomte, make no mistake," he con- 
tinued, glaring at me, his eyes red with suspicion and 
anger, "mix yourselves up with none of this. We are 
the people ! The people ! Woe to the man or thing 
that stands in our way ! " 

" Go ! " I said. " I have heard enough. Begone ! " 

He looked at me a moment as if he would answer me. 
But old habits overcame him, and with a sullen word 
of farewell he turned, and went round the house. A 
minute later I heard liis horse trot down the avenue. 

I had cut him short ; nevertheless the instant he was 
gone I wished him back, that I might ask him more. 
The St, Alais at Nimes ? Father Benoit at Nimes? 
And a plot brewing there in which all had a hand ? In 
a moment the news opened a window, as it were, into 
a wider world, through which I looked, and no longer 
felt myself shut in by the lonely country round me and 
the lack of society. I looked and saw the great white 
dusty city of the south, and trouble rising in it, and in 
the middle of the trouble, looking at me wistfully, 
Denise de St. Alais. 

Father Benoit had gone thither. Why might not I ? 

I walked up and down in a flutter of spirits, and the 
longer I considered it, the more I liked it ; the longer I 
thought of the dull inaction in which I must spend my 
time at home, unless I consented to rub shoulders with 
Buton and his like, the more taken I was with the idea 
of leaving. 

And after all why not ? Why should I not go ? 

I had my commission in my pocket, wherein I was 
not only appointed to the National Guards, but de- 


scribed as ci-devant " President of the Council of Public 
Safety in the Province of Quercy " ; and this taking the 
place of papers or passport would render travelling easy. 
My long illness would serve as an excuse for a change 
of air ; and explain my absence from home ; I had in 
the house as much money as I needed. In a word, I 
could see no difhculty, and nothing to hinder me, if I 
chose to go. I had only to please myself. 

So the choice was soon made. The following day 
I mounted a horse for the first time, and rode two- 
thirds of a league on the road, and home again very 

Next morning I rode to St. Alais, and viewed the 
ruins of the house and returned ; this time I was less 

Then on the following day, Sunday, I rested ; and on 
the Monday I rode half-way to Cahors and back again. 
That evening I cleaned my pistols and overlooked Gil 
while he packed my saddle-bags, choosing two plain 
suits, one to pack and one to wear, and a hat with a 
small tricolour rosette. On the following morning, the 
(5th of March, I took the road ; and parting from Andre 
on the outskirts of tlie village, turned my horse's head 
towards Figeac with a sense of freedom, of escape 
from difficulties and embarrassments, of hope and anti- 
cipation, that made that first hour delicious; and that still 
supported me wlien the March day began to give place 
to the chill darkness of evening — evening that in an 
unknown, untried place is always sombre and melan- 




I MET with many strange things on that journey. I 
found it strange to see, as I went, armed peasants in 
the fields ; to hght in each village on men drilling ; to 
enter inns and find half a dozen rustics seated round a 
table with glasses and wine, and perhaps an inkpot 
before them, and to learn that they called themselves a 
Committee. But towards evening of the third day I saw 
a stranger thing than any of these. I was beginning 
to mount the valley of the Tarn which runs up into the 
Cevennes at Milhau ; a north wind was blowing, the 
sky was overcast, the landscape grey and bare ; a league 
before me masses of mountain stood up gloomily blue. 
On a sudden, as I walked wearily beside my horse, I 
heard voices singing in chorus ; and looked about me- 
The sound, clear and sweet as fairy's music, seemed to 
rise from the earth at my feet. 

A few yards farther, and the mystery explained itself. 
I found myself on the verge of a little dip in the ground, 
and saw below me the roofs of a hamlet, and on the 
hither side of it a crowd of a hundred or more, men and 
women. They were dancing and singing round a 
great tree, leafless, but decked with flags : a few old 
people sat about the roots inside the circle, and but for 
the cold weather and the bleak outlook, I might have 
thought that I had come on a May-day festival. 

My appearance checked the singing for a moment ; 


then two elderly peasants made their wa}^ through the 
ring and came to meet me, walking hand in hand. 
" Welcome to Vlais and Giron ! " cried one. " Wel- 
come to Giron and Vlais ! " cried the other. And then, 
before I could answer, " You come on a happy day," 
cried both together. 

I could not help smiling. "I am glad of that," I 
said. " May I ask what is the reason of your meeting '? " 

" The Communes of Giron and Vlais, of A^lais and 
Giron," they answered, speaking alternately, "are to- 
day one. To-day, Monsieur, old boundaries disappear ; 
old feuds die. The noble heart of Giron, the noble 
heart of Vlais, beat as one." 

I could scarcely refrain from laughing at then- 
simplicity ; fortunately, at that moment, the circle 
round the tree resumed their song and dance, which 
had even in that weather a pretty effect, as of a 
Watteau fete. I congratulated the two peasants on 
the sight. 

"But, Monsieur, this is nothing," one of them an- 
swered with perfect gravity. " It is not only that the 
boundaries of communes are disappearing ; those of 
provinces are of the past also. At Valence, beyond the 
mountains, the two banks of the Khone have clasped 
hands and sworn eternal amity. Henceforth all 
Frenchmen are brothers ; all Frenchmen are of all 
provinces ! " 

" That is a fine idea," I said. 

" No son of France will again shed French blood ! " 
he continued. 

" So be it." 

" Catholic and Protestant, Protestant and (.'atliolic 
will live at jjciice ! There will be no law-suits. Grain 
will circulate freely, unchecked by toils or dues. All 
will be free, Monsieur. All will be rich." 


They said more in the same sanguine simple tone, 
and with the same naive confidence ; but my thoughts 
strayed from them, attracted by a man, who, seated 
among the peasants at the foot of the tree, seemed to 
my eyes to be of another class. Tall and lean, with 
lank black hair, and features of a stern, sour cast, he 
had nothing of outward show to distinguish him from 
those round him. His dress, a rough hunting suit, was 
old and patched ; the spurs on his brown, mud-stained 
boots were rusty and bent. Yet his carriage possessed 
an ease the others lacked ; and in the way he watched 
the circling rustics I read a quiet scorn. 

I did not notice that he heeded or returned my gaze, 
but I had not gone on my way a hundred paces, after 
taking leave of the two mayors and the revellers, before 
I heard a step, and looking round, saw the stranger 
coming after me. He beckoned, and I waited until he 
overtook me. 

"You are going to Milhau?" he said, speaking 
abruptly, and with a strong country accent ; yet in the 
tone of one addressing an equal. 

"Yes, Monsieur," I said. "But I doubt if I shall 
reach the town to-night." 

" I am going also," he answered. " My horse is in 
the village." 

And without saying more he walked beside me until 
we reached the hamlet. There — the place was deserted 
— he brought from an outhouse a sorry mare, and 
mounted. "What do you think of that rubbish?" he 
said suddenly as we took the road again. I had watched 
his proceedings in silence. 

" I fear that they expect too much," I answered 

He laughed ; a horse-laugh full of scorn. " They 
think that the millennium has come," he said. "And 


in a month they will find their barns burned and their 
throats cut." 

" I hope not," I said. 

" Oh, I hope not," he answered cynically. " I hope 
not, of course. But even so Vive la Nation/ Vive la 
Revolution /" 

" What ? If that be its fruit ? " I asked. 

"Ay, why not?" he answered, his gloomy eyes fixed 
on me. " It is every one for himself, and what has 
the old rule done for me that I should fear to try the 
new '? Left me to starve on an old rock and a dove- 
cot ; sheltered by bare stones, and eating out of a 
black pot ! While women and bankers, scented fops 
and lazy priests prick it before the King ! And why ? 
Because I remain, sir, what half the nation once were." 

" A Protestant '? " I hazarded. 

" Yes, Monsieur. And a poor noble," he answered 
bitterly. " The Baron de Geol, at your service." 

I gave him my name in return. 

" You wear the tricoloa.-," he said; "yet you tiiiuk 
me extreme? I answer, that that is all very well for 
you ; but we are different people. You are doubtless 
a family man, M. le Vicomte, with a wife " 

" On the contrary, M. le Baron." 

" Then a mother, a sister? " 

"No," Isaid, smiling. "Ihaveneither. I am quite alone." 

"At least with a home," he persisted, "means, 
friends, employment, or the chance of employment? " 

"Yes," I said, "that is so." 

" Whereas I — I," he answered, growing giitlin;il in 
his excitement, " have none of these things. I cannot 
enter tiic army — I am a Protestant ! 1 am shut off 
from the sei'vice of the State — I am a I'rotestant ! I 
rannot ijc a lawyer or a judge — I am a Protestant ! 'I'lio 
Jving's sclujols arc; closed U) nu; — 1 am a Protestant! 



I cannot appear at Court — I am a Protestant ! I — in 
the eyes of the law I do not exist ! I — I, Monsieur," he 
continued more slowly, and with an air not devoid of 
dignity, " whose ancestors stood before Kings, and whose 
grandfather's great-grandfatlier saved the fourth Henry's 
life at Coutras — I do not exist ! " 

"But now? " I said, startled by his tone of passion. 

"Ay, now," he answered grimly, "it is going to be 
different. Now, it is going to be otherwise, unless 
these black crows of priests put the clock back again. 
That is why I ain on the road." 

" You are going to Milhau ? " 

"I live near Milhau," he answered. "And I have 
been from home. But I am not going home now. I 
am going farther — to Nimes." 

" To Nimes? " I said in surprise. 

"Yes," he said. And he looked at me askance and a 
trifle grimly, and did not say any more. By this time 
it was growing dark ; the valley of the Tarn, along 
which our road lay, though fertile and pleasant to the 
eye in summer, wore at this season, and in the half- 
light, a savage and rugged aspect. Mountains towered 
on either side ; and sometimes, where the road drew 
near the river, the rushing of the water as it swirled 
and eddied among the rocks below us, added its note of 
melancholy to the scene. I shivered. The uncertainty 
of my quest, the uncertainty of everything, the gloom 
of my companion, pressed upon me. I was glad when 
he roused himself from his brooding, and pointed to the 
lights of Milhau glimmering here and there on a little 
plain, where the mountains recede from the river. 

"You are doubtless going to the inn?" he said, as 
we entered the outskirts. I assented. " Then we part 
here," he continued. " To-morrow, if you are going to 
Nimes But you may prefer to travel alone." 


" Far from it," I said. 

''Well, I shall be leaving the east gate — about eight 
o'clock," he answered grudgingly. " Good-night, Mon- 

I bade him good-night, and leaving him there, rode 
into the town : passing through narrow, mean streets, 
and under dark archways and hanging lanterns, that 
swung and creaked in the wind, and did everything but 
light the squalid obscurit}'. Though night had fallen, 
people were moving briskly to and fro, or standing at 
their doors ; the place, after the solitude through which 
I had ridden, had the air of a city ; and presently I 
became aware that a little crowd w^as following my 
horse. Before I reached the inn, which stood in a 
dimly-lit square, the crowd had grown into a great one, 
and was beginning to press upon me ; some who 
marched nearest to me staring up inquisitively into my 
face, while others, farther off, called to their neigh- 
bours, or to dim forms seen at basement windows, that 
it was he ! 

I found this somewhat alarming. Still they did not 
molest me ; Ijiit when 1 lialted they halted too, and I 
was forced to dismount almost in thisir arms. " Is this 
the inn?" I said to those nearest tome; striving to 
appear at my case. 

" Yes ! yes!" they cried witli one voice, " thai is tlu; 
inn ! " 

" My horse " 

" We will take the horse ! loiter ! Enter ! " 

I had little choice, they flocked so closely round me; 
and, affecting carelessness, I complied, thinking that 
they would not follow, and that inside I sliouhl learn 
the meaning of tlieir conduct. J^)Ut the moment my 
back was turned they })ress(!d in after me and beside 
me, iinrl, jihnost sweeping me off my fe(;t, urged ww. 


along the narrow passage of the lioiise, whether 1 w'ould 
or no. I tried to turn and remonstrate ; but the fore- 
most drowned niy words in loud cries for " M. Flandre ! 
M. Flandre ! " 

Fortunately the person addressed was not far off. A 
door towards which I was being urged opened, and he 
appeared. He proved to be an immensely stout man, 
with a face to match his body ; and he gazed at us for 
a moment, astounded bv the invasion. Then he asked 
angrily what was the matter. " Ventre de del!" he 
cried. " Is this my house or yours, rascals? Who is 
this ? " 

" The Capuchin ! The Capuchin ! " cried a dozen voices. 

"Ho! ho!" he answered, before I could speak. 
" Bring a light." 

Two or three bare-armed women whom the noise 
had brought to the door of the kitchen fetched candles, 
and raising them above their heads gazed at me 
curiously. " Ho ! ho ! " he said again. "The Capuchin 
is it ? So you have got him," 

" Do I look like one ? " I cried angrily, thrusting back 
those who pressed on me most closely. "Nom de Dieu! 
Is this the way you receive guests. Monsieur ? Or is 
the town gone mad ? " 

"You are not the Capuchin monk?" he said, some- 
what taken aback, I could see, by my boldness. 

"Have I not said that I am not? Do monks in 
your country travel in boots and spurs? " I retorted. 

"Then your papers!" he answered curtly. "Your 
papers ! I would have you to know," he continued, 
pufdng out his cheeks, " that I am Mayor here as well 
as host, and I keep the jail as well as the inn. Your 
papers. Monsieur, if you prefer the one to the other." 

" Before your friends here ? " I said contemptuously. 

" They are good citizens," he answered. 


T had some fear, now I bad come to the pinch, that 
the commission I carried miglit fail to produce all the 
effects with which I had credited it. But I had no 
choice, and ultimately nothing to dread ; and after a 
momentary hesitation I produced it. Fortunately it 
was drawn in complimentary terms and gave the Mayor, 
I know not how, the idea that I was actually bound at 
the moment on an errand of state. When he liad read 
it, therefore, he broke into a hundred apologies, craved 
leave to salute me, and announced to the listening crowd 
that they had made a mistake. 

It struck me at the time as strange, that they, the 
crowd, were not at all embarrassed by their error. On 
the contrary, they hastened to congratulate me on my 
acquittal, and even patted me on the shoulder in their 
cood humour ; some went to see tliat mv horse was 
brought in, or to give orders on my behalf, and the rest 
presently dispersed, leaving me fain to believe that they 
would have hung me to the nearest lanterne with the 
same stolid complaisance. 

When only two or three remained, I asked the Mayor 
for whom they had taken me. 

" A disguised monk, M. le Vicomte," he said. "A 
very dangerous fellow, who is known to be travelhng 
with two ladies — all to Nimes ; and orders liave been 
sent from a high quarter to arrest him." 

" I»ut 1 am aloiu! 1 " T protested. •" 1 have; no ladies 
with me." 

lie shrugged his shoulders. "Just so, M. le Vi- 
comte," he answered. " J3ut we have got the two ladies. 
They were arrested this morning, while attempting to 
pass through the town in a carriage. Wi; l<iiow, there- 
fore, that he is now alone." 

"Oh," I said. "So now you only want liini? And 
what is the charge against him ? " I continued, rcmcin- 

214 '^'ii^ i<^^ COCKADE. 

bering with ;i languid stirring of the pulses that a 
Capuchin monk had visited Father Benoit before his 
departure. It seemed to be strange that I should come 
upon the traces of another here. 

" He is charged," M. Flandre answered pompously, 
" with high treason against the nation, Monsieur. He 
has been seen here, there, and everywhere, at Mont- 
pellier, and Cette, and Albi, and as far away as Auch ; 
and always preaching war and superstition, and cor- 
rupting the people." 

''And the ladies?" I said smiling. "Have they too 
been corrupting — — " 

"No, M. le Vicomtc. But it is believed that wishing 
to return to Nimes, and learning that the roads were 
watched, he disguised himself and joined himself to 
them. Doubtless they are devotes." 

" Poor things ! " I said, with a shudder of compassion ; 
every one seemed to be so good-tempered, and yet so 
hard. " What will you do with them? " 

"I shall send for orders," he answered. "In his 
case," he continued airily, " I should not need them. 
But here is your supper. Pardon me, M. le Vicomte, 
if I do not attend on you myself. As Mayor I have to take 
care that I do not compromise — but you understand?" 

I said civilly that I did ; and supper being laid, as 
was then the custom in the smaller inns, in my bed- 
room, I asked him to take a glass of wine with me, and 
over the meal learned much of the state of the country, 
and the fermentation that was at work along the 
southern seaboard, the priests stirring up the people 
with processions and sermons. He waxed especially 
eloquent upon the excitement at Nimes, where the 
masses were bigoted Komanists, w^hile the Protestants 
had a following, too, with the hardy peasants of the 
mountains behind them. "There will be trouble, M. 

AT MIl.HAU. 215 

le Vicomte, there will be trouble there," he said with 
meaning. " Things are going too well for the people 
la has. They will stop them if they can." 

" And this man"? " 

"Is one of their missionaries." 

I thought of Father Benoit, and sighed. "By the 
way," the Mayor said abruptly, gazing at me in moony 
thoughtfulness, " that is curious now ! " 

"What?" I said. 

" You come from Cahors, M. le Vicomte ? " 


"So do these women ; or they say they do. The 

" From Cahors ? " 

"Yes. It is odd now," he continued, rubbing his 
chin, " but when I read your commission I did not 
think of that." 

I shrugged my shoulders impatiently. " It does not 
follow that I am in tlic plot," I said. " For goodness 
sake, M. le Maire, do not let us open the case again. 
You have seen my papers, and " 

" Tut ! tut ! " he said. " That is not my meaning. 
But you may know these persons." 

" Oh ! " I said ; and then I sat a moment, staring at 
him between the candles, my hand raised, a morsel 
on ray fork. A wild extravagant thought had flashed 
into my mind. Two ladies from Cahors? From Cahors, 
of all places ? " How do they call themselves ? " I asked. 

" Corvas," he answered. 

" Oh I Corvas," I said, falling to eating again, and 
putting tlie morsel into my mouth. And I went on 
with my supper. 

" Yes. A merchant's wife, she says she is. But you 
shall SOB her." 

" I don't remember the name," I answered. 


" Still, you iiiaj' know them," he rejoined, with the 
dull persistence of a man of few ideas. " It is just 
possible that we have made a mistake, for we found no 
papers in the carriage, and only one thing that seemed 

"What was that?" 

" A red cockade." 

"A ;-e^ cockade ? " 

"Yes," he answered. "The badge of the old 
Leaguers, you know." 

" But," I said, " I have not heard of any party adopt- 
ing that." 

He rubbed his bald head a little doubtfully. " No," 
he said, " that is true. Still, it is a colour we don't like 
here. And two ladies travelling alone — alone. Mon- 
sieur ! Then their driver, a half-witted fellow, who 
said that they had engaged him at Eodez, though he 
denied stoutl^' that he had seen the Capuchin, told two 
or three tales. However, if you will eat no more, M. le 
Vicomte, I will take you to see them. You may be 
able to speak for or against them." 

" If you do not think that it is too late ? " I said, 
shrinking somewhat from the interview. 

" Prisoners must not be choosers," he answered, with 
an unpleasant chuckle. And he called from the door 
for a lantern and his cloak. 

" The ladies are not here, then ? " I said. 

"No," he answered, witli a wink. " Safe bind, safe 
find ! But they have nothing to cry about. There are 
one or two rough fellows in the clink, so Babet, the 
jailer, has given them room in his house." 

At this moment the lantern came, and the Mayor 
having wrapped his portly person in a cloak, we passed 
out of the house. The square outside was utterly dark, 
such lights as had been burning when I arrived had 


been extiuguished, perhaps by the wind, which was 
rising, and now blew keenly across the open space. 
The yellow glare of the lantern was necessary, but 
though it showed us a few feet of the roadway, and 
enabled us to pick our steps, it redoubled the darkness 
beyond ; I could not see even the line of the roofs, and 
had no idea in what direction w^e had gone or how far, 
when M. Flandre halted abruptly, and, raising the lan- 
tern, threw its light on a greasy stone wall, from which, 
set deep in the stone-work, a low iron-studded door 
frowned on us. About the middle of the door hunir a 
huge knocker, and above it was a small griUe. 

** Safe bind, safe find ! " the Mayor said again with a 
fat chuckle ; but, instead of raising the knocker, he 
drew his stick sharply across the bars of the grille. 

The summons was understood and quickly answered. 
A face peered a moment through the grating ; then 
the door opened to us. The Mayor took the lead, and 
we passed in, out of the night, into a close, warm air 
reeking of onions and foul tobacco, and a hundred like 
odours. Tlie jailer silently locked the door behind us, 
and, taking the Mayor's lantern from him, led the way 
down a grimy, low-roofed passage barely wide enough 
for one man. He halted at the first door on the left of 
the passage, and threw it open. 

>r. Flandre entered first, and, standing while he 
removed his hat, for an instant filled the doorway. I 
liad time to hear and note a burst of obscene singing, 
whicli came from a room fartiicr down the passage; and 
the frequent baying of a prison-dog, that, hearing us, 
flung itself against its chain, somewhere in the same 
direction. I noted, too, that the walls <if the passage 
in w'hich I stood were dingy and trickling with moisture, 
and then a voice, speaking in answer to M. I'^lniidrc's 
salutation, caught my ear and lu'li] \\\c inoliojilcss. 


The voice was Madame's — Madame de St. Alais' ! 

It was fortunate tHat I had entertained, though but 
a second, the wild, extravagant thought that had 
occurred to me at supper ; for in a measure it had pre- 
pared me. And I had httle time for other preparation, 
for thought, or decision. Luckily the room was thick 
with vile tobacco smoke, and the steam from linen drying 
by the fire; and I took advantage of a fit of coughing, 
partly assumed, to linger an instant on the threshold 
after M. Flandre had gone in. Then I followed him. 

There were four people in the room besides the 
Mayor, but I had no eyes for the frowsy man and 
woman who sat playing with a filthy pack of cards at a 
table in the middle of the floor. I had only eyes for 
Madame and Mademoiselle, and them I devoured. 
They sat on two stools on the farther side of the hearth ; 
the girl with her head laid wearily back against the 
wall, and her eyes half-closed ; the mother, erect and 
watchful, meeting the Mayor's look with a smile of 
contempt. Neither the prison-house, nor danger, nor 
the companionship of this squalid hole had had power 
to reduce her fine spirit ; but as her eyes passed from 
the Mayor and encountered mine, she started to her 
feet with a gasping cry, and stood staring at me. 

It was not wonderful that for a second, peering 
through the reek, she doubted. But one there was 
there wlio did not doubt. Mademoiselle had sprung 
up in alarm at the sound of her mother's cry, and for 
the briefest moment we looked at one another. Then 
she sank back on her stool, and I heard her break into 
violent crying. 

" Hallo ! " said the Mayor. " What is this ? " 

"A mistake, I fear," I said hoarsely, in words I had 
already composed. " I am thankful, Madame," I con- 
tinued, bowing to her with distant ceremony, and as 


much indifference as I could assume, " that I am so 
fortunate as to be here." 

She muttered something and leaned against the wall. 
She had not yet recovered herself. 

" You know the ladies '?" the Mayor said, turning to 
me and speaking roughly ; even with a tinge of sus- 
picion in his voice. And he looked from one to the 
other of us sharply. 

"Perfectly," I said. 

" They are from Cahors ? " 

" From that neighbourhood."' 

" But," he said, " I told you their names, and you 
said that you did not know them, M. le Vicomte?" 

For a moment 1 held my bfcatli : gazing into 
Madame's face and reading there anxiety, and some- 
thing more — a sudden terror. I took the leap — I could 
do nothing else. "You told me Corvas — that the 
lady's name was Corvas," I niuttorcd. 

" Yes," he said. 

" But Madame's name is (!orreas." 

" Correas ? " he repeated, his jaw falhng. 

** Yes, Correas. I dare say that the ladies," I continued 
with assumed politeness, "did not in tlicii' fright speak 
very clearly." 

" And their name is Correas? " 

" I told you that it was," Madame answered, speak- 
ing for the first time, " and also that 1 know nothing 
of your Capucliin monk. And this l.isi," she con- 
tinued earnestly, her eyes fixed on mine in passionate 
appeal— in appeal that this time could not be mistaken 
— "I say again, on my honour ! "' 

I knew tliat she meant tliis for me ; and I rcspondid 
to the cry, "Yes, M. le Maire," I said. " I ,ini afr.iid 
that you have made a mistake. T can answei' l(»- 
Madame as foi- invscdf" 

The Mayor rubi^ed his head. 




" Of course, if Madame — if Madame knows nothing of 
the monk," he said, looking vacantly about the dirty 
room, "it is clear that — it seems clear that there has 
been a mistake." 

"And only one thing remains to be done," I sug- 

"But — but," he continued, with a resumption of his 
former importance, " there is still one point unexplained 
—that of the red cockade. Monsieur ? What of that, 
M. le Vicomte ? " 

" The red cockade ? " I said. 

" Ay, what of that ? " he asked briskly. 

I had not expected this, and I looked desperately at 
Madame. Surely her woman's wit would find a way, 
whatever the cockade meant. "Have you asked Madame 
Correas ? " I said at last, feebly shifting the burden. 
" Have you asked her to explain it ? " 

" No," he answered. 

" Then I would ask her," I said. 

"Nay, do not ask me; ask M. le Vicomte,'' she an- 
swered lightly. " Ask him of what colour are the facings 
of the National Guards of Quercy ? " 

" Eed ! " I cried, in a burst of rehef. " Red ! " I knew, 
for had I not seen Buton's coat lying by the forge ? But 
how Madame de St. Alais knew I have no idea. 

" Ah ! " M. Flandre said, with the air of one still a 


little doubtful. " Aiid Madame wears the cockade for 
that reason?" 

"No, M. le Maire," she answered, with a roguish 
smile ; I saw that it was her plan to humour him. " I 
do not — my daughter does. If you wish to ask further, 
or the reason, you must ask her." 

jNI. Flandre had the curiosity of the true bourgeois, 
and the love of the sex. He simpered. " If Made- 
moiselle would be so good," he said. 

Denise had remained up to this point hidden behind 
her mother, but at the word she crept out, and reluc- 
tantly and like a prisoner brought to the bar, stood 
before us. It was only when she spoke, however, nay, 
it was not until she had spoken some words that I un- 
derstood the full change that I saw in her ; or why, in- 
stead of the picture of pallid weariness which she had 
presented a few minutes before, she now showed, as she 
stood forward, a face covered with blushes, and eyes 
shining and suffused. 

" It is simple, ^Monsieur," she said in a low voice. 
" My /7rt/ice, M. le Maire, is in that regiment." 

" And you wear it for tliat reason ? " the Mayor cried, 

" I love him," she said softly. And for a moment — 
for a moment her eyes met mine. 

Then I know not which was the redder, she or I ; or 
which found that vile and filthy room more like a 
palace, its tobacco-laden aii- more sweet! I IkkI not 
dreamed what she was going to say, least of all had I 
dreamed what her eyes said, as for tliat instant they 
met mine and turned my blood to lire. ! I lost the 
Mayor's blunt answer tujd liis chuckling laugh ; and 
only returned to a sense of llic prescint when Made- 
moiselle slipped back to liide her burning face behind 
her niotluu', and I saw in her place Madame, facing 


me, with her linger to her lip, and a glance of warning 
in her eyes. 

It was a warning not superfluous, for in the flush of 
my first enthusiasm I might have said anything. And 
the Mayor was in better hands than mine. The little 
touch of romance and sentiment which Mademoiselle's 
avowal had imported into the matter, had removed his 
last suspicion and won his heart. He ogled Madame, 
he beamed on the girl with fatherly gallantry. He 
made a jest of the monk. 

" A mistake, and yet one I cannot deplore, Madame," 
he protested, with clumsy civility. " For it has given 
me the pleasure of seeing you." 

" Oh, M. le Maire ! " Madame simpered. 

"But the state of the country is really such," he 
continued, "that for the beautiful sex to be travelling 
alone is not safe. It exposes them " 

"To worse rencontres than this, I fear," Madame 
said, darting a look from her fine eyes, "If this were 
the worst we poor women had to fear ! " And she 
looked at him again. 

" Ah, Madame ! " he said, delighted. 

"But, alas, we have no escort." 

The fat Mayor sighed, I think that he was going to 
offer himself. Then a thought struck him. " Perhaps 
this gentleman," and he turned to me. " You go to 
Nimes, M. le Vicomte ? " 

"Yes," I said. "And, of course, if Madame Cor- 
reas " 

" Oh, it would be troubhng M. le Vicomte," Madame 
said ; and she went a step farther from me and a step 
nearer to M. Flandre, as if he must understand her 

" I am sure it could be no trouble to any one ! " he 
answered stoutly. " But for the matter of that, if M. 


le Yicomte perceives any difficulty," and be laid his 
hand on his heart, " I will find some one " 

" Some one?" Madame said archly. 

" Myself," the Mayor answered. 

" Ah ! " she cried, ^" if you -" 

But I thought that now I might safely step in. "No, 
no," I said. " M. le Maire is taking all against me. I 
can assure you, Madame, I shall be glad to be of service 
to you. And our roads lie together. If, therefore " 

" I shall be grateful," Madame answered with a de- 
lightful little courtesy. " That is, if M. le Maire will 
let out his poor prisoners. Who, as he now knows, have 
done nothing worse than sympathise with National 

" I will take it on myself, Madame," M. Flandre said, 
with vast importance. He had been brought to the 

desired point. "The case is quite clear. J3ut " 

he paused and coughed slightly, "to avoid complica- 
tions, you had better leave early. When you are gone, 
I shall know what explanations to give. And if you 
would not object to spending the night here," he con- 
tinued, looking round him, with a touch of sheepish- 
ness, " I think that " 

"We shall mind it less than before," Madame said, 
with a look and a sigli. "T feel safe since you have 
been to see us." And she lidd out a li.iiid tliat was 
still white and plump. 

The Mayor kissf;d it. 

As I walked, a few minutes later, across tlie square, 
picking my steps by the yellow light of M. I'linidrc's 
lantern, and at times enveloped in the Hying skirt of 
bis cloak — for the good man had his own visions and 
for a hundred yards togethor forgot his company — 1 


could have thought all that had passed a dream ; so 
unreal seemed the squalid prison-lodging I had just 
left, so marvellous the ladies' presence in it, so in- 
credible Mademoiselle's blushing avowal made to my 
face. But a wheezing clock overhead struck the hour 
before midnight, and I counted the strokes ; a watch- 
man, not far fmm me, cried, after the old fashion, that 
it was eleven o'clock and a fine night ; and I stumbled 
over a stone. No, I was not dreaming. 

But if I had to stumble then, to persuade myself 
that I was awake, how was it with me next morning, 
when, with the first glimmer of light, I walked beside 
the carriage from the inn to the prison, and saw, 
before I reached the gloomy door, Madame and Made- 
moiselle standing shivering under the wall beside it ? 
How was it with me when I held Mademoiselle's hand 
in mine, as I helped her in, and then followed her in 
and sat opposite to her — sat oj)posite to her with the 
knowledge that I was so to sit for days, that I was to 
be her fellow-traveller, that we were to go to Nimes 
together ? 

Ah, how was it, indeed? But there is nothing quite 
perfect ; there is no hour in which a man says that he is 
quite happy ; and a shadow of fear and stealth darkened 
my bliss that morning. The Mayor was there to see 
us start, and I fancy that it was his face of apprehen- 
sion that lay at the bottom of this feeling. A moment, 
however, and the face was gone from the window ; 
another, and the carriage began to roll quickly through 
the dim streets, while we lay back, each in a corner, 
hidden by tiie darkness even from one another. Still, 
we had the gates to pass, and the guard ; or the watch 
might stop us, or some early-rising townsman, or any 
one of a hundred accidents. My heart beat fast. 

But all went well. Within five minutes we had 


passed the gates and left them behind us, and were 
rolhng in safety along the road. Tlie dawn was no 
more than grey, the trees showed black against the 
sky, as we crossed the Tarn by the great bridge, and 
began to climb the valley of the Dourbie. 

I have said that we could not see one another. 
But on a sudden Madame laughed out of the darkness 
of her corner. " Kichard, mon Boi ! " she 
hummed. Then "The fat fool!" she cried; and she 
laughed again. 

I thought her cruel, and almost an ingrate ; but she 
was Mademoiselle's mother, and I said nothing. Made- 
moiselle was opposite to me, and I was happy. I was 
happy, thinking what she would say to me, and how 
she would look at me, when the day came and she could 
no longer escape my eyes ; when the day came and the 
dainty, half-shrouded face that already be^^an to glimmer 
in the roomy corner of the old berlin should be mine to 
look on, to feast my eyes on, to question and read 
through long days and hours of a journey, a journey 
through heaven ! 

Already it was growing light ; I had but a little 
longer to wait. A rosy flush began to tinge one half 
the sky ; the other half, pale blue and flecked with 
golden clouds, lay behind us. A few seconds, and the 
mountain tii)S caught the first rays of the sun, and 
floated far over us, in golden ether. I cast one greedy 
glance at Mademoiselle's face, saw there the dawn out- 
blushed, I met for one second her eyes and saw the 
glory of the ether outshone — and then T looked away, 
trembling. It seemed sacrilege to look longer. 

Suddenly Madame laughed again, out of her corner; 
a laugh that made me wince, and grow hot. " She ia 
not made for a nun, M. le Vicomte, is she?" she 


226 Till: Ri:n COCKADE. 

I bounced in my seat. The speaker's tone, gay, in- 
sulting, flicked, not me, but the girl, like a whip. 

" You really, Denise, must have had practice," Madame 
continued smoothly. " I love, you love, we love — 
you are quite perfect. Did you practise with M. le 
Directeur '? Or with the big boys over the wall ? " 

" Madame ! " I cried. Tlie girl had drawn her hood 
over her face, but I could fancy her shame. 

But Madame was inexorable. " Eeally, Denise, I 
do not know that I ever told even your father ' I love 
you,' " she said. " At any rate, until he had kissed me on 
the lips. But I suppose that you reverse the order " 

" Madame," I stammered. " This is infamous ! " 

" What, Monsieur? " she answered, this time heeding 
me. " May I not punish my daughter in my own way ? " 

"Not before me," I retorted, full of wrath. "It is 
cruel ! It is " 

" Oh, before you, M. le Vicomte ? " Madame answered, 
mocking me. "And why not before you? I cannot 
degrade her lower than she has herself stooped ! " 

"It is false!" I cried, in hot rage. "It is a cruel 
falsehood ! " 

" Oh, I can? Then if I please, I shall ! " Madame 
answered, with ruthless pleasantry. "And you. Mon- 
sieur, will sit by and listen, if I please. Though, make 
no mistake, M. le Vicomte," she continued, leaning for- 
ward, and gazing keenly into my face. " Because I 
punish her before you, do not tliink that you are, or 
ever shall be, of the family. Or that this unmaidenly, 
immodest " 

Mademoiselle uttered a cry of pain, and shrank lower 
in her corner. 

" Little fool," Madame continued coolly, " who, when 
she was primed with a cock-and-bull story about the 
cockade, must needs add, ' I love him ' — I love him, and 


she a maiden ! — will ever be anythiiig to you ! That 
link was broken long ago. It was broken wlien your 
friends burned our house at St. Alais ; it was broken 
when they sacked our house in Cahors ; it was broken 
when they made our king a prisoner, when they 
murdered our friends, when they dragged our Church 
a slave at the chariot wheels of their triumph ; ay, and 
broken once for all, beyond mending by mock heroics ! 
Understand that fully, M. le Vicomte," Madame con- 
tinued pitilessly. " But as you saw iier stoop, you shall 
see her punished. She is the first St. Alais that ever 
wooed a lover ! " 

I knew that of the family which would have given 
the lie to that statement ; but it was not a tale for 
Mademoiselle's ears, and instead I rose. " At least, 
Madame," I said, bowing, "I can free Mademoiselle from 
the embarrassment of my presence. And I shall do so.'' 

" No, you will not do even that," Madame answered 
unmoved. " If you will sit down, I will tell you why." 

I sat down, compelled by her tone. 

" You will not do it," Madame continued, looking mo 
coolly in the face, " because I am bound to admit, 
though 1 no longer like you, that you are a gentleman." 

" And therefore should leave you." 

"On the contrary, for that reason you will coiitiiiur 
to travel with us." 

" Outside," T said. 

" No, inside," she answered quietly. " We have no 
passport nor papers; without youi' company we shf^uld 
b(! st()pp«'d in each town through which W(! pass. It 
is unfoi lunate," Miulanic continued, shrugging her 
shoulders; " — 1 did not know tliat tlu^ c<juiitry was in 
80 l^ad a state, cji' I would have taken j^recautions — it is 
unfortunat(!. liut as it is we nmst put up with it aiul 
travel together." 

2 28 rilK RED COCKADK. 

I felt a warm rush oi' joy, uf triumph, of coming 
vengeance. " Thank you, Madame," I said, and I bowed 
to her, " for telling me that. It seems, then, that you 
are in my power." 


"And that to requite you for the pain you have just 
caused Mademoiselle, I have only to leave you." 

" Well ? " 

"I see even now a little town before us; in three 
minutes we shall enter it. Very well, Madame. If 
you say another word to your daughter, if you insult 
her again in my presence by so much as a syllable, I 
leave you and go my way." 

To my surprise Madame St. Alais broke into a silvery 
laugh. " You will not, Monsieur," she said. "And yet 
I shall treat my daughter as I please." 

"I shall do so!" 

"You will not." 

" Why, then ? Why shall 1 not ? " I cried. 

" Because," she answered, laughing softly, "you are 
a gentleman, M. le Vicomte, and can neither leave us 
nor endanger us. That is all." 

I sank back in my seat, and glared at her in speechless 
indignation ; seeing in aflash my impotence and her power. 
The cushions burned me ; but I could not leave them. 

She laughed again, well pleased. "There, I have 
told you what you will not do," she said. "Now I am 
going to tell you what you will do. In front, I am 
told, they are very suspicious. The story of Madame 
Corvas, even if backed by your word, may not suffice. 
You will say, therefore, that I am your mother, and 
that Mademoiselle is your sister. She would prefer, 
I daresay," Madame continued, with a cutting glance 
at her daughter, "to pass for your wife. But that 
does not suit me." 


I breathed hard ; but I was helpless as any prisoner, 
closely bound to obedience as any slave. I could not 
denounce them, and I could not leave them ; honour 
and love were alike concerned. Yet I foresaw that I 
must listen, hour by hour, and mile by mile, to gibes at 
the girl's expense, to sneers at her modesty, to words 
that cut like whip-lashes. That was Madame's plan. 
The girl must travel with me, must breathe the same 
air with me, must sit for hours with the hem of her 
skirt touching my boot. It was necessary for the 
safety of all. But, after this, after what we had both 
heard, if her eye met mine, it could only fall ; if her 
hand touched mine, she must shrink in shame. Hence- 
forth there was a barrier between us. 

As a fact, Mademoiselle's pride came to her aid, and 
she sat, neither weeping nor protesting, nor seeking to 
join her forces to mine by a glance ; but bearing all 
with steadfast patience, she looked out of the window 
when I pretended to sleep, and looked towards her 
mother when I sat erect. Possibly she found her 
compensations, and bore her punishment quietly for 
their sake. But I did not think of tliat. Possibly, too, 
she suffered less than I fancied ; but I doubt if she 
would admit that, even to-day. 

At any rate she had heard me fight her battle ; yet 
she did not speak to me nor I to her ; and under these 
strange conditions we began and pursued the strangest 
journey man ever made. We di'ove through pleasant 
valleys growing green, over sterile passes, where winter 
still fringed the rocks with snow, through sunshine, 
and in the teeth of cold mountain winds ; but we 
scarcely heeded any of these things. Our hearts and 
thoughts lay inside the carriage, where Madame sat 
smiling, and we two kept grim silence. 

About noon we halted to rest and eat at a little 

2^o Tin: Ri:n cockade. 

village inn, high up. It seemed to luc a place almost 
at the end of the world, with a chaos of mountains 
rising tier on tier above it, and slopes of shale below. 
But the frenzy of the time had reached even this 
barren nook. Before we had taken two mouth fills, 
the Syndic called to see our papers ; and — God knows 
I had no choice — Madame passed for my mother, and 
Denise for my sister. Then, while the Syndic still 
stood bowing over my commission, and striving to 
learn from me what news there was below, a horse 
halted at the door, and I heard a man's voice, and in 
a breath M. le Baron de Geol walked in. There was 
a single decent room in the inn — that in which we sat 
— and he came into it. 

He uncovered, seeing ladies; and recognising me with 
a start smiled, but a trifle sourly. " You set off early ? " 
he said. " I waited at the east gate, but you did not 
come, Monsieur." 

I coloured, conscience-stricken, and begged a thousand 
pardons. As a fact, I had clean forgotten him. I had 
not once thought of the appointment I had made with 
him at the gate. 

" You are not riding ? " he said, looking at my com- 
panions a little strangely. 

" No," I answered. And I could not find another 
word to say. The Syndic still stood smiling and bow- 
ing beside me ; and on a sudden I saw the pit on the 
edge of which I tottered ; and my face burned. 

"You have met friends?" M. le Baron persisted, 
looking, hat in hand, at Madame. 

" Yes," T muttered. Politeness required that I sliould 
introduce him. But I dared not. 

However, at that, he at last took the hint ; ;iiid re- 
tired with the Syndic. The moment they were over 
the threshold Madame flashed cnit at me, in a passion 


of anger. " Fool I " she said, without ceremony, " why 
did you not present him? Don't you know that that 
is the way to arouse suspicion, and ruin us? A child 
could see that you had something to hide. If you had 
presented him at once to your mother " 

"Yes, Madame?" 

" He would have gone away satisfied." 

" I doubt it, Madame, and for a very good reason," I 
answered cynically. " Seeing that yesterday I told him, 
with the utmost particularity, that I had neither mother 
nor sister." 

That afforded me a little revenge. Madame St. Alais 
went white and red in the same instant, and sat a mo- 
ment with her lips pressed together, and her eyes on the 
table. "Who is he? What do you know of him?" 
he said at last. 

" He is a poor gentleman and a bigoted Protestant," 
I answered drily. 

She bit her lip. "Bo)i Dieu /" she muttered. "' Who 
could have foreseen such an accident ? Do you think 
that he suspects anything?" 

" Doubtless. To begin, I left early this morning, in 
breach of an agreement to travel with him. When he 
learns, in addition, that I am travelling with my 
mother and sister, whom yesterday 1 did not 
possess " 

>radamo looked at me, as if she would strike me. 
" What will you do? " she cried. 

" It is for my mother to say," f answered politely. 
And I liclixd MiysclC very indiffc^rently to cheese. " Siie 
dictated this policy." 

Sli(! was wliit(! with rag(\ nml perhaps alarm ; I 
chuckNid secretly, seeing ho- coiidition. I'm liigt; 
availed her little ; she had to huiniih' In rscll'. " What 
do you advise?" she said at last. 


" There is only one course open," I answered. "We 
must brazen it out." 

She agreed. But this, though a very easy course to 
advise, was one anything but easy to pursue. I dis- 
covered that, a few minutes later, when I went out to 
see if the carriage was ready, and found De Geol in the 
doorway with a face as hard as his own hills. " You 
are starting?" he said. 

I muttered that I was. 

" I find that I have to congratulate you," he con- 
tinued, with a smile of unpleasant meaning. 

" On what. Monsieur '? " 

" On finding your family," he answered, looking at 
me with a bitter sort of humour. " To discover both a 
mother and a sister in twenty-four hours must be great 
happiness. But — may I give you a hint, M. le Vicomte ? " 

" If you please," I said, with desperate coolness. 

" Then if — being so happy in making discoveries — 
you happen to light next on M. Froment — on M. Fro- 
ment, the firebrand of Nimes, false Capuchin, and 
false traitor ! — do not adopt him also ! That is all." 

" I am not acquainted with him," I said coldly. He 
had spoken with passion and fire. 

" Do not become so," he answered. 

I shrugged my shoulders, and he said no more ; and 
in a moment Madame and Mademoiselle came out, and 
took their seats, and I set out to walk up the hill beside 
the horses. 

The ascent was steep and long and toilsome, and a 
dozen times as we climbed out of the valley we had to 
halt to breathe the cattle ; a dozen times I looked back 
at the grey mountain inn lying on the desolate grey 
plateau at our feet. Always I found the Baron looking 
up at us, stern and gaunt and motionless as the house 
before which he stood. And I shivered. 




This encounter served neither to raise my spirits nor 
to remove the apprehensions with which I looked for- 
ward to our arrival in places more populous ; places 
where suspicion, once roused, might be less easily 
allayed. True, Geol had not betrayed me, but he might 
have his reasons for that ; nor did the fact any the 
more reconcile me to having on our trail this grim 
stalking-horse in whose person a fanaticism I had 
deemed dead lurked behind modern doctrines, and 
sought under the cloak of a new party to avenge old 
injuries. The barren slopes and rugged peaks that rose 
above us, as we plodded toilsomely onward, the wind- 
swept passes over which the horses scarce dragged the 
empty carriage, the melanchol}' fields of snow that lay 
to right and left, all tended to deepen the impression 
made on my mind ; so that feeling him one with his 
native hills, I longed to escape from them, I longed to 
be clear oi tliis desolation and to see before mc the 
sunsliine and olive slopes sweep down to the southern 

Yet even lurre there was a counterpoise. The peril 
whicli had startUfd me had not been lost on Madanu^ 
St. Alais ; it had sensibly lowered her tone, and danjjicd 
the triumpii with which she had been disposed to treat 
me. She was more quiet ; and sitting in her place, 
or walking beside the laljouring carriage, as it slowly 


wound its way round shoulders, or wearily climbed long 
lacets, she left nie to myself. Nay, it did not escape 
me that distance, far from relieving, seemed to aggravate 
her anxiety ; so that the farther we left the uncouth 
Baron behind, the more restless she grew, the more 
keenly she scanned the road behind us, and the less 
regard she paid to me. 

This left me at liberty to use my eyes as I would ; 
and I remember to this day that hour spent under the 
shoulder of Mont Aigoual. Mademoiselle, worn out 
by days and nights of exertion, had fallen asleep in her 
corner, and shaken by the jolting of the coach had let 
the cloak slip from her face. A faint flush warmed her 
cheeks, as if even in sleep she felt my eyes upon her ; 
and though a tear presently stole from under her long 
lashes, a smile almost naive — a smile that remained 
while the tear passed — seemed to say that the joys of 
that strange day surpassed the pains, and that in her 
sleep Mademoiselle found nothing to regret. God, 
how I watched that smile ! How I hoped that it was 
for me, how I prayed for her ! Never before had it been 
my happiness to gaze on her uncontrolled, as I did now ; 
to trace the shadow where the first tendrils of her hair 
stole up from the smooth, white forehead, to learn the 
soft curves of lips and chin, and the dainty ear half- 
hidden ; to gaze at tlie blue-veined eyelids half in fear, 
half ill the liope that they might rise and discover 
me ! 

Denise, my Denise ! I breathed the word softly, in 
uiy heart, and was happy. In spite of all — the cold, 
the journey, G<'o], Madame — I was happy. And then 
in a momi'iit 1 fell to earth, as I heard a voice say 
clearly, "Is that he?" 

It was Madame's voice, and I turned to her. I was 
relieved to find that she was not looking my way, but 


was on her feet, gazin^^^ back the way we had come. 
And in a moment, whether she gave an order or the 
driver halted on his own motion, the carriage came 
to a stand ; in a mountain pass, where rocks lay 
huddled on either side. 

" What is it? " I said in wonder. 

She did not answer, but on the silence of the road 
and the mountains rose tbe thin strain of a whistled 
air. The air was "0 Richard, mon Roi!" In that 
solitude of rock and fell, it piped high and thin, and 
had a weird starthng effect. I thrust out my head on 
the other side, and saw a man walking after us at his 
leisure; as if we had passed him, and then stood to 
wait for him. He was tall and stout, wore boots and a 
common-looking cloak ; but for all that he had not the 
air of a man of the country. 

"You are going to Gauges?" Madame cried to him, 
without preface. 

" Yes, Madame," he answered, as he came quietly 
up, and saluted her. 

" We can take you on," she said. 

" A thousand thanks," he answered, his eyes twink- 
hng. " You are too good. Tf the gentleman does not 
object?" And he looked at me, smiling without 

"Oh, no!" Madame said, with a touch of contempt 
in her voice, " the gentleman will not object." 

But that gave me, in the niiddU; of my astonishment, 
the fillip tliiit I needed. TIk; device of the meeting was 
so transparent, the appearance of this man, in cloak 
ajid i)Oots, on the desolate road f;ir from ;iiiy bnbitation, 
wa.s HO clearly a [)ai't of an aii;in;4i(| |»l;iii, tli;it i could 
not swallow it ; 1 must liitliei' fall in w itli it, be dupe, 
and play my role with my eyes open, or act at once. 
1 aw(;ke from m\ astonishment. "One moment. 


Madame," I said. " I do not know who this gentleman 

She had resumed her seat, and the stranger had 
come up to the window on her side, and was looking in. 
He had a face of striking power, large-sized and coarse, 
but not unpleasant ; with quick, bright eyes, and 
mobile lips that smiled easily. The hand he laid on 
the carriage door was immense. 

I think my words took Madame by surprise. She 
flashed round on me. " Nonsense," she cried imperi- 
ously. And to him, " Get in, Monsieur ". 

"No,"! retorted, half-rising. "Stay, if you please. 
Stay where you are, until " 

Madame turned to me, furious. " This is my car- 
riage," she said. 

" Absolutely," I answered. 

" Then what do you mean? " 

" Only that if this gentleman enters it, I leave it." 

For an instant we looked at one another. Then she 
saw that I was determined, and, knowing my position, 
she lowered her tone. "Why?" she said, breathing 
quickly. " Why, because he enters it, should you leave 

"Because, Madame," I answered, "1 see no reason 
for taking in a stranger whom w^e do not know. This 
gentleman may be everything that is upright " 

"He is no stranger ! " she snapped. " I know him. 
Will that satisfy you? " 

"If he will give me his name," I said. 

Hitherto he had stood unmoved by the discussion, 
looking with a smile from one to the other of us ; but 
at this he struck in. "With pleasure. Monsieur," he 
said. " My name is Alibon, and I am an advocate of 
Montauban, who last week had the good fortune " 

" No," I said, interrupting him brusquely, and once 


for all ; " I think not. Not Alibon of Montauban. 
Froment of Nimes, I think, Monsieur." 

A little tract of snow flushed by the sunset lay 
behind him, and by contrast darkened his face ; I 
could not see how he took my words. And a few 
seconds elapsed before he answered. When he did, 
however, he spoke calmly, and I fancied I detected as 
much vanity as chagrin in his tone. " Well, Monsieur," 
he said, " and if I am? What then? " 

" If you are," I replied resolutely, meeting his eyes, 
" I decline to travel with you." 

" And therefore," he retorted, " Madame, whose 
carriage this is, must not travel with me ! " 

" No, since she cannot travel without me," I answered 
with spirit. 

He frowned at that ; but in a moment, " And why?" 
he said with a sneer. " Am I not good enough for your 
excellency's company ? " 

" It is not a question of goodness,'" I said bluntly, 
" but of a passport, Monsieur. If you ask me, I do not 
travel with you because I hold a commission under 
the present Government, and I believe you to be work- 
ing atrainst tliat GovernmcMit. I have lied for Madame 
St. Alais and her daughter. She was a woman and 1 
had to save her. But I will not lie for you, nor be 
your cloak. Is that plain. Monsieur?" 

" Quite," he said slowly. " Yet I serve the King. 
Wliom do you serve?" 

I was silent. 

"Whose is this commission. Monsieur, that must 
not bo contaminated?" 

I writhed under the sneer, but I was silciiL. 

" Come, M. le Vicorate," he continued frankly, and 
in a different tone. " Be yourself, I pray. I am 
Froment, you have guessed it. I am also a fugitive, 


and wert! my name spoken in Villeraiicifues, a league 
on, I should hang for it. And in Ganges tlie like. I 
am at your mercy, therefore, and I ask you to shelter 
me. Let me pass through Sumene and Ganges as one 
of your party ; thenceforth onwards," he added with a 
smile and a gesture of conscious pride, " I can shift for 

I do not wonder I hesitated, I wonder I resisted. It 
seemed so small a thing to ask, so great a thing to 
refuse, that, though half a minute hefore my mind had 
heen made up, I wavered ; wavered miserably. I felt 
my face burn, I felt the passionate ardour of Madame's 
eyes as they devoured it, I felt the call of the silence 
for my answer. And I was near assenting. But as I 
turned feverishly in my seat to avoid Madame's look, 
my hand touched the packet which contained tlie 
commission, and the contact wrought a revulsion of 
feeling. I saw the thing as I had seen it before, and, 
rightly or wrongly, revolted from that which I had 
nearly done. 

" No," I cried angrily. " I will not ! I will not ! " 

"You coward! " Madame cried with sudden passion. 
And she sprang up as if to strike me, but sat down 
again trembling. 

" It may be," I said. " But I will not do it." 

"Why? Why? Why ?" she cried. 

" Because I carry that commission ; and to use it to 
shelter M. Froment were a thing M. Froment would 
not do himself. That is all." 

He shrugged his shoulders, and magnanimously kept 
silence. But she was furious. " Quixote ! " she cried. 
" Oh, you are intolerable ! But you shall suffer for it. 
Eh, hien, Monsieur, you shall suffer for it ! " she re- 
peated vehemently. 

" Nay, Madame, you need not threaten," I retorted. 


" For if I would, I could not. You forget that M. de 
Geol is no more than a league behind us, and bound for 
Nimes ; he may appear at any moment. At best ho 
is sure to lodge where we do to-night. If ho finds," I 
continued drily, " that I have added a brother to my 
growing family, I do not think that he will take it 

But this, though she must have seen the sense of it, 
had no effect upon her. " Oh, you are intolerable ! " she 
cried again. " Let me out ! Let me out, Monsieur." 

This last to Froment. 1 did not gainsay her, and he 
let her out, and the two walked a few paces away, talk- 
ing rapidly. 

I followed them with my eyes ; and seeing him now, 
detached, as it were, and solitary in that dreary land- 
scape — a man alone and in danger — I began to feel 
some compunction. A moment more, and I miglit 
have repented ; but a touch fell on mj' sleeve, and I 
turned with a start to find Denise leaning towards me, 
with her face rapt and eager. 

" Monsieur," she whispered eagerly ; before she 
could say more I seized the hand with which she had 
touched me, and kissed it fiercely. 

" No, Monsieur, no," she whispered, drawmg it fiom 
iiie with her face grown crimson — but her eyes still 
met mine frankly. " Not now. I want to speak to 
you, to warn you, to ask you " 

"And I, Mademoiselle," I cried in the same low tone, 
" want to i^less you, to thank you " 

" I want to ask you to take care of yourself," she 
persisted, shaking her head almost petulantly at me, 
to silence me. " Jjisten ! Some trap will be laid foi' 
you. My inother would not harm you, tiiough she is 
angry; but that man is desperate, and we are in straits. 
Be careful, therefore, Monsieur, and " 


" Have no fear," I said. 

" Ah, but I have fear," she answered. 

And the way in which she said that, and the way in 
which she looked at me, and looked away again like a 
startled bird, filled me with happiness — with intense 
happiness ; so that, though Madame came back at that 
moment, and no more passed between us, not even a 
look, but we had to sink back in our seats, and affect 
indifference, I was a different man for it. Perhaps 
something of this appeared in my face, for Madame, as 
she came up to the door, shot a suspicious glance at 
me, a glance almost of hatred ; and from mc looked 
keenly at her daughter. However, nothing was said 
except by Froment, who came up to the door and 
closed it, after she had entered. He raised his hat to me. 

"M. le A^icomte," he said, with a little bitterness, "if 
a dog came to my door, as I came to you to-day, I 
would take him in ! " 

" You would do as I have done," I said. 

" No," he said firmly; "I would take him in. Never- 
theless, when we meet at Nimes, I hope to convert you." 

"To what?" I said coldly. 

"To having a little faith," he answered, with dryness. 
" To having a little faith in something — and risking 
somewhat for it, Monsieur. I stand here," he went on, 
with a gesture that was not witliout grandeur, " alone 
and homeless, to-day ; I do not know where I shall lie 
to-night. And why, M. le Vicomte? Because I alone 
in France have faith ! Because I alone believe in any- 
thing ! Because I alone believe even in myself ! Do 
you think," he continued with rising scorn, "that if you 
nobles believed in your nobility, you could be unseated? 
Never! Or that if you, who say 'Long live the King ! ' 
believed in your King, he could be unseated ? Never ! 
Or that if you who profess to obey the Church beheved 


ill lier, she could be uprooted? Never I But you be- 
lieve in nothing, you admire nothing, you reverence 
nothing — and therefore you are doomed ! Yes, doomed; 
for even the men with whom you have linked yourself 
have a sort of bastard faitli in their theories, their 
philosophy, their reforms, that are to regenerate the 
world. But you — you believe in nothing ; and you 
shall pass, as you pass from me now! " 

He waved his hand with a gesture of menace, and 
before I could answer, the carriage rolled on, and left 
him standing there ; the grey landscape, cold and 
barren, took the place of his face at the door. The 
light was beginning to fail ; we were still a league from 
Villeraugues. I was glad to feel the carriage moving, 
and to be free from him ; my heart, too, w'as warm 
because Denise sat opposite me, and I loved her. But 
for all that — and though Madame, glowering at me 
from her corner, troubled me little — the thought that I 
had deserted him — that, and his words, and one word 
in particular, hummed in my head, and oppressed me 
with a sense of coming ill. "Doomed! Doomed!" 
He had said it as if lie meant it. I could no longer 
question his eloquence. I could no longer be ignorant 
why they called him the firebrand of Nimes. Th(^ liot 
breath of the southern city had come from him ; the 
passion of worl(l-(;ld strifes had spoken in his voice. 
Uneasily I pondered over what he had said, and recalled 
the words spoken by P'ather Benoit, even by Geol, to 
the same effect; iuid so brooded in my corner, while; 
the carriage jolted on and darkness f<'ll, until j)i(scn(ly 
wo stopped in th(! village street. 

I offered Madame St. Alais my arm to descend. " No, 
Monsieur," she said, repelling me with passion ; " 1 will 
not touch you." 

She meant, 1 think, to seclude herself and Made- 



moiselle, and leave me to sup alone. But in the inn 
there was only one great room for parlour, and kitchen, 
and all ; and a little cupboard, veiled by a dingy 
curtain, in which the women might sleep if they 
pleased, but in which they could not possibly eat. 
The inn was, in fact, the worst in which I had stopped 
— the maid draggled and dirty, and smelling of the 
stable ; the company three boors ; the floor of earth ; 
the windows unglazed. Madame, accustomed to travel, 
and supported by her anger, took all with the ease of 
a fine lady ; but Denise, fresh from her convent, winced 
at the brawling and oaths that rose round her, and 
cowered, pale and frightened, on her stool. 

A hundred times I was on the point of interfering to 
protect her from these outrages ; but her eyes, when 
they made me happy by timidly seeking mine for an 
instant, seemed to pray me to abstain ; and the men, 
as their senseless tirades showed, were delegates from 
Castres, who at a word would have raised the cry of 
" Aristocrats ! " I refrained, therefore, and doubtless 
with wisdom ; but even the arrival of Geol would have 
been a welcome interruption. 

I have said that Madame heeded them little ; but it 
presently appeared that I was mistaken. After we 
had supped, and when the noise was at its height, she 
came to me, where I sat a little apart, and, throwing 
into her tone all the anger and disgust which her face 
so well masked, she cried in my ear that we must start 
at daybreak. 

" At daybreak — or before ! " she whispered fiercely. 
"This is horrible! horrible!" she continued. "This 
place IS killing me ! I would start now, cold and dark 
as it is, if " 


I w^ill speak to them," I said, taking a step towards 
the table. 


She clutched my sleeve, and pinched me until I winced. 
" Fool ! " she said. "Would you ruin us all? A word, 
and we are betrayed. No ; but at daybreak we go. 
We shall not sleep ; and the moment it is light we 
go ! " 

I consented, of course ; and, going to the driver, who 
had taken our place at the table, she whispered him 
also, and then came back to me, and bade me call him 
if he did not rise. This settled, she went towards the 
closet, whitber Mademoiselle had already retired ; but 
unfortunately her movements had drawn on her the 
attention of the clowns at the table, and one of these, 
rising suddenly as she passed, intercepted her. 

" A toast, Madame ! a toast ! " he cried, with a gross 
hiccough ; and reeling on his feet, he thrust a cup of 
wine in front of her. " A toast ; and one that every 
mam, woman, and child in France must drink, or be 

d d ! And that is the Tricolour ! The Tricolour ; 

and down with Madame Veto ! The Tricolour, Ma- 
dame ! Drink to it ! " 

The drunken wretch pressed the cu[) on her, while 
his comrades roared, " Drink 1 Drink ! The Tricolour ; 
and down with Madame Veto ! " and added jests and 
(jaths I will not write. 

This was too much ; I sprang to my feet to chastise 
tlie wretches. Hut Madame, wiio preserved her presence 
of mind to a marvel, checked me by a glance. " No," 
she said, raising her head proudly ; " 1 will not diiiik !" 

"Ah !" lie cried with a vile laugh. "An aristocrat, are 
we? Drink, nevertheless, or we shall show you " 

" 1 will not (liiiik ! " she retorted, facing him with 
su[)(;rb courage. " .Vnd more, when M. de Geol arrives 
to-niglit, you will have to give an account to him." 

The num's face fell. " You know the liarou de Greol ? " 
he said in a different tone. 


" 1 left him at the last village, and 1 expect him here 
to-night," she answered coolly. " And I would advise 
you, Monsieur, to drink your own toasts, and let others 
go ! For he is not a man to brook an insult ! " 

The brawler shrugged his shoulders, to hide his morti- 
fication. " Oh ! if you are a friend of his," he muttered, 
preparing to slink back to the table, " I suppose it is 
all right. He is a good man. No offence. If you are 
not an aristocrat " 

" I am no more of an aristocrat than is M. de Geol," 
she answered. And, with a cold bow, she turned, and 
went to the closet. 

The men were a little less noisy after that ; for Madame 
had rightly guessed that Geol's name was known and 
respected. They presently wrapped themselves in their 
cloaks, and lay down on the floor ; and I did the same, 
passing the night, in the result, in greater comfort than 
I expected. 

At first, it is true, I did not sleep ; but later I fell 
into an uneasy slumber, and, passing from one troubled 
dream to another — for which I had, doubtless, to thank 
the foul air of the room — I awoke at last with a start, 
to find some one leaning over me. Apparently it was 
still night, for all was quiet ; but the red embers of the 
fire glowed on the hearth, and dimly lit up the room, 
enabling me to see that it was Madame St. Alais who 
had roused me. She pointed to the other men, who 
still lay snoring. 

" Hush ! " she whispered, with her finger on her lip. 
" It is after five. Jules is harnessing the horses. I 
have paid the woman here, and in five minutes we shall 
be ready." 

" But the sun will not rise for another hour," I 
answered. This was early starting with a vengeance ! 
Madame, however, had set her heart upon it. "Do 


you want to expose us to more of this ? " she said, in a 
furious whisper. " To keep us here until Geol arrives, 
perhaps '? " 

" I am ready, Madame," I said. 

This satisfied her ; she flitted away without any more, 
and disappeared behind the curtain, and I heard whisper- 
ing. I put on my boots, and, the room being very cold, 
stooped a moment over the fire, and drawing the embers 
together with my foot, warmed myself. Then I put on 
my cravat and sword, which I had removed, and stood 
ready to start. It seemed uselessly earl}' ; and we had 
started so early the day before ! If Madame wished it, 
however, it was my place to give way to her. 

In a moment she came to me again ; and I saw, even 
by that light, that her face was twitching with eagerness. 
" Oh ! " she said ; " will he never come ? That man 
will be all day. Go and hasten him. Monsieui' ! If Grol 
comes ? Go, for pity's sake, and liasten him ! " 

I wondered, thinking such haste utterly vain and 
foolish — it was not likely that Geol would arrive at tiiis 
iiour ; but, concluding that Madame's nerves had failed 
at last, I thought it proper to comply, and, stepping 
carefully over the sleepers, reached the door. I raised 
the latch, and in a moment was outside, and had closed 
the door behind me. The bitter dawn wind, laden with 
a fine snow, lashed my cheeks, and bit througli my 
cloak, and made me shivei*. In the east tlu; dayhicak 
was only faintly apparent ; in every other quarter it was 
still night, and, for all I could see, might be midnight. 

Very little in charity with Madame, I picked my 
way, shivering, to the door of the stable — a mean hovel, 
ill a line with the house, and set in a sea of mud. It 
was closed, but a dim yellow light, proceeding from a 
window towards i\\(' fnrther (^nd, siiowcfl nic wIkmv 
Jules was at work ; iiiiil I raiK<',d the latch, and callccl 


liiiii. Tie did not answer, and I bad to go in to him, 
passing behind three or four wretched nags — some on 
their legs and some lying down — until I came to our 
horses, which stood side by side at the end, with the 
lantern hung on a hook near them. 

Still I did not see Jules, and I was standing wonder- 
ing where he was — for he did not answer — when, with 
a whish, something black struck me in the face. 
It blinded me ; in a moment I found myself struggling 
in the folds of a cloak, that completely enveloped my 
face, while a grip of iron seized my arms and bound 
them to my sides. Taken completely by surprise, I 
tried to shout, but the heavy cloak stifled me ; when, 
struggling desperately, I succeeded in uttering a half- 
choked cry, other hands than those which held me 
pressed the cloak more tightly over my face. In vain 
I writhed and twisted, and, half-suffocated, tried to 
free myself. I felt hands pass deftly over me, and 
knew that I was being robbed. Then, as I still resisted, 
the man who held me from behind tripped me up, and 
I fell, still in his grasp, on my face on the ground. 

Fortunately I fell on some litter ; but, even so, the 
shock drove the breath out of me ; and what with that 
and the cloak, which in this new position threatened to 
strangle me outright, I lay a moment helpless, while 
the wretches bound my hands behind me, and tied my 
ankles together. Thus secured, I felt myself taken up, 
and carried a little way, and flung roughly down on a 
soft bed — of hay, as I knew by the scent. Then some 
one threw^ a truss of hay on me, and more and more 
hay, until I thought tluit I should be stifled, and tried 
frantically to shout. But the cloak was wound two or 
three times round my head, and, strive as I would, I 
could only, with all my efforts, force out a dull cry, that 
died, smothered in its folds. 




I DID not struggle long. The efforts I had made to free 
myself from the men, and this last exertion of striving 
to shout, brought the blood to my head ; and so ex- 
hausted me that I lay inert, my heart panting as if it 
would suffocate me, and my lungs craving more air. 
I was in danger of being stifled in earnest, and knew it ; 
but, fortunately, the horror of this fate, which a minute 
before had driven me to frantic efforts, now gave me 
the supreme courage to lie still, and, collecting myself, 
do all I could to get air. 

It was time I did. I was hot as fire, and sweating 
at every pore ; however the dreadful sensation of chok- 
ing went off somewhat when I had lain a while motion- 
less, and by turning my head and chest a little to the 
side — which I succeeded in doing, though I could not 
raise myself — I breathed more freely. Still, my position 
was horrible. Helpless as I was, with the trusses of 
hay pressing on me, fresh pains soon rose to take the 
place of those allayed. The bonds on my wrists began 
to burn into my flesh, the hilt of my sword forced itself 
into ray side, my back seemed to be breaking under 
the burden, my shoulders ached intolerably. I was being 
slowly, slowly pressed to death, in thiikncss, and when 
a cry — a single cry, if I could raise my voice — would 
bring relief and succour ! 

The thought so ninddmcd 7nn that, fancying after an 


age of this suiieriiig lliat I heard a faint sound as of 
some one moving in the stable, I lost control of myself, 
ami fell to struggling again ; while groans broke from 
me instead of cries, and the bonds cut into my arms. 
But the paroxysm only added to my misery ; the person, 
whoever he was, did not hear me, and made no further 
noise ; or, if he did, the blood coursing to my head, and 
swelling the veins of my neck almost to bursting, 
deafened me to the sound. The horrible weight that 
I had raised for a moment sank again. I gave up, I 
despaired ; and I'ly in a kind of swoon, unable to think, 
unable to remember, no longer hoping for relief, or 
planning escape, but enduring. 

I must have lain thus some time, when a noise loud 
enough to reach my dulled ears roused me afresh ; I 
listened, at first with half a heart. The noise was re- 
peated ; then, without further warning, a sharp pain 
darted through the calf of my leg. I screamed out ; 
and, though the cloak and the hay over my head choked 
the cry, I caught a kind of echo of it. Then silence. 

Stupid as a man awakened from sleep, I thought for 
a moment that I had dreamed both the cry and the 
pain ; and groaned in my misery. The next moment 
I felt the hay that lay on me move ; then the truss 
that pressed most heavily on me was lifted, and I 
heard voices and cries, and saw a faint light, and knew 
I was freed. In a twinkling I felt myself seized and 
drawn out, amid a murnuu' of cries and exclamations. 
The cloak was plucked from my head, and, dazzled and 
half blind, I found half a dozen faces gaping and staring 
at me. 

" Why, mon Dieii ! it is the gentleman who departed 
this morning ! " cried a woman. And she threw up her 
hands in astonishment. 

I looked at her. She was the woman of the bouse. 

A POOR FIG r RE. 249 

My throat was dry and parched, my hps were swollen ; hut 
at the second attempt I managed to tell her to untie me. 

She complied, amid fresh exclamations of surprise 
and astonishment ; then, as I was so stiff and benumbed 
as to be powerless, they lifted me to the door of the 
stable, where one set a stool, and another brought a 
cup of water. This and the cold air restored me, and 
m a minute or two I was able to stand. Meanwhile 
they pressed me with questions ; but T was giddy and 
confused, and could not for a few minutes collect my- 
self. By-and-by, however, a person who came up with 
an air of importance, and pushed aside the crowd of 
clowns and stable-helpers that surrounded me, helped 
me to find my voice. 

"What is if?" he said. --What is it. Monsieur? 
What brought you in the stable?" 

The woman who kept the inn answered for me that 
she did not know ; that one of the men going to get 
hay had struck his fork into my leg, and so found me. 

" But wiio is he ? " the new-comer asked imperatively. 
He was a tall, tliin man, with a sour face and small,' 
suspicious eyes. 

" 1 am the Vicomte de Saux," I answered. 

"Kh ! " he said, prolonging the syllable. " And how 
came you, M. ]<■ X'icoiiitc if tlml be voiir naiiic in tli(> 

" r liav(! been i-ojjbcd," 1 muttered. 

'• Kobbed I '■ he; answered with a snilf. " 1 liili ! 
Monsieur ; in this comnnme we have no robbers." 

"Still, I have been lolilxd,"' I luiswiired stu})i(lly. 

For answer, before 1 knew what he was about, he 
plimgcd bis hand, without ceremony or leave, into iIk; 
pocket r)f my coat, and brought out a purse. Ih held 
it up foi- all to see. " Iiobi)C(l ? " be said in a tone of 
ironv. " I think not. Motisicur ; I think not I 


I looked at the purse in astonishment ; then, me- 
chanically putting my hand into my pocket, I produced 
first one thing, and then another, and stared at them. 
He was right. I had not heen robbed. Snuff-box, 
handkerchief, my watch and seals, my knife, and a little 
mirror, and book — all were there ! 

"And now I come to think of it," the woman said, 
speaking suddenly, " there are a pair of saddle-bags in 
the house that must belong to the gentleman ! I was 
wondering a while ago whose they were." 

" They are mine ! " I cried, memory and sense re- 
turning. " They are mine ! But the ladies who were 
with me ? They have not started ? " 

" They went these three hours back," the woman 
answered, staring at me. " And I could have sworn 
that Monsieur went with them ! Bat, to be sure, it was 
only just light, and a mistake is soon made." 

A thought that should have occurred to be before— a 
horrible thought — darted its sting into my heart. I 
plunged my hand into the inner pocket of my coat, and 
drew it out empty. The commission — the commission 
to which I had trusted was gone ! 

I uttered a cry of rage and glared round me. "What 
is it? " said the sour man, meeting my eyes. 

" My papers ! " I answered, almost gnashing my 
teeth, as I thought how 1 had been tricked and treated. 
T saw it all now. " My papers ! " 

" Well ? " he said. 

" They are gone ! I have been robbed of them ! " 

" Indeed ! " he said drily. " That remains to be 
proved. Monsieur." 

I thought that he meant that I might be mistaken, 
as I had been mistaken before ; and, to make certain, 
I turned out the pocket. 

" No," he said, as drily as before. " I see that they 


are not there. But the point is, Monsieur, were they 
ever there ? " 

I looked at him. 

" Yes," he said, " that is the point, Monsieur. Where 
are your papers '? '" 

" I tell you I have been robbed of them ! " I cried, in 
a rage. 

" And I say, that remains to be proved," he answered. 
"And until it is proved, you do not leave here. That 
is all. Monsieur, and it is simple." 

"And who," I said indignantly, "are you, I should 
like to know, Monsieur, who stop travellers on the 
highway, and ask lor papers ? " 

" Merely the President of the Local Committee," he 

" And do you suppose," I said, fuming at his folly, 
" that I bound my hands, and stifled myself under that 
hay, on purpose? On purpose to pass through your 
wretched village ? " 

" I suppose nothing. Monsieur," he answered coolly. 
" But this is the road to Turin, where M. d'Artois is 
said to be collecting the disaffected ; and to Nimes, 
where mischievous persons are flaunting the red cock- 
ade. And without papers, no one passes." 

" But what will you do with me?" I asked, seeing 
that the clowns, who gaped round us, regarded him as 
nothing less than a Solomon. 

"Detain you, M. le Vioomto, until yon procure 
papers," he answered. 

"But, mon J)ici(!" 1 said. "That is not so easily 
done here. Wlio is likely to know me?" 

He shrugged his shoulders. 'Monsieur does noi 
leave without the papers," he said. " That is all." 

And he spoke truly, that was all. In vain I hiid the 
facts before him, and asked if any one would volun- 


tarily sufifer, merely to hide liis lack of papers, what I 
had under<jjone ; in vain I asked if the state in which 
I had been found was not itself proof that I had been 
robbed ; if a man could tie his own hands, and pile hay 
on himself. In vain even that I said I knew who 
had robbed me ; the last statement only made matters 

"Indeed!" he said iionically. "Then, pray, who 
was it?" 

" The rogue Froment ! Froment of Nunes ! " 

" He is not in this country." 

" Indeed ! I saw him j^esterday," I answered. 

" Then that settles the matter," the Committee-man 
answered, with a grim smile; and his little court smiled 
too. " After that, we certainly cannot lose sight of M. 
le Yicomte." 

And so well did he keep his word, that when, to avoid 
the cold that began to pierce me, I went into the 
wretched inn, and sat down on the hearth to think 
over the position, two of the yokels accompanied me ; 
and when I went out again, and stood looking distrust- 
fully up and down the road, two more were at my 
elbow, as by magic. Whether I turned this way or 
that, one was sure to spring up, and, if I walked too far 
from the house, would touch me on the arm, and 
gruffly order me back. Mont Aigoual itself, lifting its 
crest, bleak, and stern, and cold, above the valley, was 
not more sure than their attendance, or more im- 

This added to my irritation, and for a time I was like 
a madman. Deluded by Madame St. Alais, and robbed 
by Froment — who, I felt sure, had taken my place, 
and was now rolling at his ease through Sumene and 
Ganges with my commission in his pocket — I strode 
up and down the road, the road that was my prison, 


in a lever of rage and chagrin. Madanie's nigratitude, 
my own easiness, the villagers' stupidity, I execrated all 
in turn ; but most, perhaps, the inaction to which they 
condemned me. I had escaped with my life, and for 
that should have been thankful ; but no man cares to 
be duped. And one day, two days, three days passed ; 
it froze and thawed, snowed and was fine ; still, while 
the carriage bowled along the road to Nimes, and 
carried my mistress farther and farther from me, I lay 
a prisoner in this wretched hamlet. I grew to loathe 
the squalid inn, in which I kicked my heels through 
the cold hours, the muddy road that ran by it, the 
mean row of hovels they called the village. Ail day, 
and whenever I went abroad, the clowns dogged and 
fiouted me, thinking it sport ; each evening the Com- 
mittee came to stare and question. A house this way, 
a house that way, were my boundaries, while the world 
moved beyond the mountains, and France throbbed; 
and I knew not what might be in hand to separate 
Denise from me. No wonder that I almost chafed 
myself into madness. 

I had left my horse at Milhau, whence the landlord 
bad vmdftitaken to forward it to Ganges within a couple 
of days, by the hand ot an acquaintance who would be 
going that way. I expected it every hour, tljerefore, 
and my only ho))e was that its conductor might be able 
to identify me, since lialf a hundred at Milhau had sec n 
my commission, or heard it read. But the hoisc did noi 
arrive, nor any one from Milhau, and Icuiing that the 
release of the two ladies had caused trouble there, my 
heart sank still lo\v(!i-. I (;ould not easily conniiinii('.'it(> 
vvitli Caliors, and iIk; Coniniittcic, with rustic nidc.pcnd- 
ence and obstinacy, vvoidd neither let mc; go nor s(Mid 
nie to Niines, where I could be identified. It was in 
vain 1 pressed tlxni. 


" No, no," the sour-faced Committee-man answered, 
the first tune I raised the question. " Presently some 
one who knows you will come by. In the meantime 
have patience." 

" M. le Vicomte is a gentleman many would know," 
the woman of the house chimed in ; looking at me with 
her arms wrapped up in her apron and her head on one 

" To be sure ! To be sure," the crowd agreed, and, 
rubbing their calves, the members of the Committee 
followed her lead, and looked at me with satisfaction, as 
at something that did them credit. 

Their stupid complacency nearly drove me mad ; but 
to what purpose? "After all, you are very well here," 
the first speaker would say, shrugging his shoulders. 
" You are very well here." 

" Better than under the hay ! " the man who had 
pricked my leg was wont to answer. 

And on that — this was a nightly joke — a general 
laugh would follow, and with another admonition to be 
patient, the Committee would take its leave. 

Or sometimes the argument in the kitchen took a 
harsher and more dangerous turn ; and one and another 
would recall for my benefit old tales of the dragooning, 
and Yillars, and Berwick ; tales, at which the blood 
crept, of horrible cruelties done and suffered, of stern 
mountain men and brave women who faced the worst 
that Kings could do, for the fate that they had chosen ; 
of a great cause crushed but not destroyed, of a whole 
people trodden down in dust and blood, and yet living 
and growing strong. 

" And do you think that after this," the speaker would 
cry when he had told luc these things with Hashing eyes, 
these things that his grandfathers had done and suffered 
■ — " do you think that after this we are not concerned 


in this business? Do 3-ou think that now, Monsieur, 
when, after all these years, vengeance is in our hand 
and our persecutors are tottering, we will sit still and 
see them set up again '? Bishops and captains, canons 
and cardinals, where are they now ? Where are the 
lands they stole from us? Gone from them! Where 
are the tithes they took with blood ? Taken from them ! 
Where is St. Etienne, whose father they persecuted? 
With his foot on their necks ! And. after this, do you 
think that with all their processions and their idols and 
their Corpus Christi, they shall defy us and set up their 
rule again? Xo, Monsieur, no." 

' But there is no question of that ! " I said mildly. 

" There is great question of that," was the stern 
answer. "In ]S^imes and Montauban, at Avignon, and 
at Aries ! We who live in the mountains have too 
often heard the storm gathering in the plain to be 
mistaken. These preachings and processions, and 
weeping virgins, this cry of Blasphemy — what do they 
mean. Monsieur? J^lood ! Blood! Blood! It has been 
so a score of times, it is so now ! But this time blood 
will not be shed on one side only ! " 

And I listened and marvelled. I began to under- 
stand that the same word meant one thing in one 
man's mouth, and in another man's mouth another 
thing ; and that that which worked easily and smoothly 
in the north might in the south roll hideously through 
fire and blood. In Quercy we had lost two or three 
chi'itcaux, and a handful of lives, and for a few hours 
the mob had got out (jf band — all with little enthusiasm. 
Jiut here — here 1 seemed to stand on the brink of a 
great furnace under which the fires of persecution 
still smiuildered ; I felt the scorching breath of passion 
on my check, and saw through the white-hot scum old 
enmities seething with new and tierccir amlHtions, old 

256 rill: RED COCKADE. 

factions with new bigotries. 1 had heard Fionient, 
now I heard these ; it remained only to be seen whether 
Froment had liis foHowers. 

In the meantime, pent up in this place, I found little 
comfort in such predictions ; T lived on my heart, and 
the better part of a fortnight went by. The woman 
at the inn was well satisfied to keep me ; I paid, and 
guests were rare. And the Committee took pride in 
me ; I was a living, walking token of their powers, and 
of the importance of their village. Now to the mingled 
misery and absurdity of my position, the anxiety on 
Mademoiselle's account, which this news of Nimes 
caused me, added the last intolerable touch, and I 
determined at all risks to escape. 

That I had no horse, and that at Sumcne or Ganges 
I should inevitably be detained, had hitherto held me 
back from the attempt ; now I could bear the position 
no longer, and after weighing all the chances, I deter- 
mined to slip away some evening at sunset, and make 
my way on foot to Milhau. The villagers would be 
sure to pursue me in the direction of Nimes, whither 
they knew that I was bound ; and even if a party took 
the other road, I should have many chances of escape 
in the darkness. I counted on reaching Milhau soon 
after daybreak, and there, if the Mayor stood my 
friend, I might regain my horse, and with credentials 
travel to Nimes by the same or another road. 

It seemed feasible, and that very evening fortune 
favoured me. The man who should have kept me 
company, upset a pot of boiling water over his foot, and 
without giving a thought to me or his duty went off 
groaning to his house. A moment later the woman 
of the inn was called out by a neighbour, and at the 
very hour I would have chosen, I found myself alone. 
Still I knew that I had not a moment to lose ; instantly, 


therefore, I pat on my cloak, and reaching down my 
pistols from a shelf on which they had been placed, I 
put a little food in my pocket and sneaked out at the 
rear of the house. A dog was kennelled there, but it 
knew me and wagged its tail ; and in two minutes, 
after warily skirting the backs of the houses, I gained 
the road to Milhau, and stood free and alone. 

Night had fallen, but it was not quite dark ; and 
dreading every eye, I hurried on through the dusk, now 
peering anxiously forward, and now looking and listen- 
ing for the first sounds of pursuit. For a few minutes 
the fear of that took up all my thoughts ; later, when 
the one twinkling light that marked the village had set 
behind me, and night and the silent waste of mountains 
had swallowed me up, a sense of eeriness, of loneliness, 
very depressing, took possession of me, Denise was at 
Nimes, and I was moving the other way ; what 
accidents might not befall me, how many things might 
not happen to postpone my return ? In the meantime 
she lay at the mercy of her nj other and brothers, with 
all the traditions of her family, all the prejudices of 
maidenhood and her education against my suit. To 
what use in this imbroglio might not her hand be put? 
Or, if that were not in question, what in that city of 
strife, in that fierce struggle, of which the peasants had 
forewarned me, might not be the fate of a young girl? 

Spurred by these thoughts, I pressed on feverishly, 
and iiad gone, perhaps, a league, when a sharp sound 
made by a horse's shoe striking a stone, caught my car. 
It came from the h'oiit, and I drew to the sid<' of the 
road, and crouched low to let the traveller go by. I 
fancied that I could dintinguish the tramp of three 
horses, but when the men loomed darkly into bight, I 
could see only two figures. 

Perhaps I rose a little too higii in ujy anxiety to see. 



At any rate I had not counted on the horses, the nearer 
of which, as it passed me, swerved violently from me. 
The rider was almost dismounted by the violence of 
the movement, but in a twii)kling had his horse again 
in hand, and before I knew what I was doing, was 
urging it upon me. I dared not move, for to move was 
to betray m}'^ presence, but this did not avail, for in a 
minute the rider made out the outline of my figure. 

"Hola," he cried sharply. "Who are you there, 
who lie in wait to break men's necks? Speak, man, 
or " 

But I caught his bridle. " M. de Geol ! " I cried, my 
heart beating against my ribs. 

" Stand back ! " he cried, peering at me. He did not 
know my voice. " Who are you ? Who is it ? " 

"It is I, M. de Saux," I answered joyfully. 

"Why, man, I thought that you were at Nimes," he 
exclaimed in a tone of great astonishment, " these ten 
days past ! We have your horse here." 

"Here? My horse ? " 

" To be sure. Your good friend here has it in charge 
from Milhau. But where have you been? And what 
are you doing here?" he continued suspiciously. 

" I lost my passport. It was stolen by Froment." 

He whistled. 

"And at Villeraugues they stopped me," I continued. 
" I have been there since." 

"Ah," he said drily. "That comes of travelling in 
bad company, M. le Vicomte. And to-night I suppose 
you were " 

"Going to get away," I answered bluntly. "But 
you — I thought that you had passed long ago? " 

"No," he said. "I was detained. Now we have 
met, I would advise you to mount and return with 


" I will," I said briskly, " with the greatest pleasure. 
And you will be able to tell them who I am." 

"I?" he answered. "No, indeed. I do not know. 
I only know who you told me you were." 

I fell to earth again, and for a moment stood staring 
through the darkness at him. A moment only. For 
then out of the darkness came a voice. " Have no fear, 
M. le Yicomte, I will speak for you." 

I started and stared. " Mon Dieii .' " I said, tremb- 
ling. "Who spoke?" 

" It is I — Buton," came the answer. "I have your 
horse, M. le Vicomte." 

It was Buton, the blacksmith ; Captain Buton, of 
the Committee. 

This for the time cut the thread of my difticulties. 
When we rode into the village ten minutes later, the 
Committee, awed by the credentials which Buton 
carried, accepted his explanation at once, and raised 
no further objection to my joui'iicy. So twelve; hours 
afterwards we three, thus sti'angcly thrown together, 
passed through Sumc'-no. We slept at Sauvc, and 
presently leaving behind us the late winter of the 
mountains, with its frost and snow, began to descend 
in sunshine the western slope of the Klioiie valley. 
All day we rode through balmy aii-, between fields and 
gardens and f)live groves; the white dust, tlic white 
houses, the white cliffs elofpient of the south. And a 
littl(! before sunset we came in sight of Niines, and 
hailed the end of a jonniey ihat. for mc. liad not been 
without its adventures. 




It will be believed tbat I looked on tbe city with no 
common emotions. I had heard enough at Villeraugues 
— and to that enough M. de Geol had added by the way 
a thousand details — to satisfy me that here and not in 
the north, here in the Gard, and the Bouches du Rhone, 
among the olive groves and white dust of the south, 
and not among the wheatfields and pastures of the 
north, the fate of the nation hung in the balance ; and 
that not in Paris — where men would and yet would 
not, where Mirabeau and Lafayette, in fear of the mob, 
took one day a step towards the King, and the next, 
fearful lest restored he should punish, retraced it — 
could the convulsion be arrested, but here ! Here, 
where the warm imagination of the Proven9al still saw 
something holy in things once holy, and faction bound 
men to faith. 

Hitherto the stream of revolution had met with no 
check. Obstacles apparently the strongest, the King, 
the nobles, had crumbled and sunk before it, almost 
without a struggle ; it remained to be seen whether the 
third and last of the governing powers, the Church, 
would fare better. Clearly, if Froment were right, 
and faith must be met by faith, and bigotry of one 
kind be opposed by bigotry of another kind, here in the 
valley of the Rhone, where the Church still kept its 
hold, lay the materials nearest to the enthusiast's 


hand. In that case — and with this in my mind, I took 
my first long look at the cit}^ and the wide low plain 
that lay beyond it, bathed in the sunset light — in that 
case, from this spot might fly a torch to kindle France 1 
Hence might start within the next few days a con- 
flagration as wide as tlie land ; that taken up, and 
roaring ever higher and higher through all La 
Vendee, and Brittany, and the Cotes du Nord, might 
swiftly ring round Paris with a circle of flame. 

Once get it fairly alight. 33ut there lay the doubt ; 
and I looked again, and looked with eager curiosity, 
at this city from which so much was expected ; this 
far-stretching city of flat roofs and white houses, 
trending gently down from the last spurs of the Ce- 
vennes to the Ehone plain. North of it, in the out- 
skirts rose three low hills, the midmost crowned with a 
tower, the eastern-most casting a* shadow almost to the 
distant river; and from tliese, eastward and southward, 
the city sloped. And these hills, and the roads near us, 
and the plain already verdant, and the great workshops 
that here and there rose in the faubourgs, all, as we 
apj)roached, seemed to teem with life and people ; with 
pe(jple coming and going, alone and in groups, saunter- 
ing beyond the walls for pleasure, or hastening on 

Of these. I iif)ticed all woio a badge of some kind; 
many the tricolour, hut more a red ribbon, ;i icd tuft, 
a red cockade — emblems at sight of which my 
companions' faces grew darker, and over darker. 
Another tiling characteristic of the place, the tinkling 
of many bells, calling to vespers — though 1 found the 
sound fall pleasantly on the evening air — was as little 
to their taste. They growled together, and increased 
their pace; the result (^f wiiich was that insensibly 1 
ffll to the rear. As we entered the streets, tlic traffic 


that met us, and the keenness with which I looked 
about me, increased the distance between us ; presently, 
a long line of carts and a company of National Guards 
intervening, I found myself riding alone, a hundred 
paces behind them. 

1 was not sorry; the noxelty of the shifting crowd, 
the changing faces, the southern patois, the moving 
string of soldiers, peasants, workmen, women, amused 
me. I was less sorry wlien by-and-by something — 
something which T had dimly imagined might happen 
when I reached Nimes — took real shape, there, in the 
crooked street; and struck me, as it were, in the face. 
As I passed under a barred window a little above the 
roadway, a window on which my eyes alighted for an 
instant, a white hand waved a handkerchief — for an 
instant only, just long enough for me to take in the 
action and think of l)enise ! Then, as I jerked the 
reins, the handkerchief was gone, the window was 
empty, on either side of mo the crowd chattered, and 
jostled on its way. 

I pulled up mechanically, and looked round, my heart 
beating. I could see no one near me for whom the 
signal could be intended ; and yet — it seemed odd. I 
could hardly believe in such good fortune ; or that 1 
had found Denise so soon. However, as my eyes 
returned doubtfully to the window, the handkerchief 
flickered in it again ; and this time the signal was so 
unmistakably meant for me that, shamed out of my 
prudence, I pushed my horse through the crowd to 
the door, and hastily dismounting, threw the rein to 
an urchin who stood near. \ was shj^ of asking him 
wiio lived in the house ; and with a single glance at 
the dull white front, and the row of barred windows 
that ran below the balcony, I resigned myself to fortune, 
and knocked. 

AT NIMES. 263 

On the instant the door flew open, and a servant 
appeared. I had not considered what I would say, and 
for a moment I stared at him foohshly. Then, at a 
venture, on the spur of the moment, I asked if Madame 

He answered very civilly that she did, and held the 
door open for me to enter. 

I did so, confused and wondering ; none the less 
when, having crossed a spacious hall, paved with black 
and white marble, and followed him up a staircase, I 
found everything I saw round me, from the man's quiet 
livery to the mouldings of the ceiling, wearing the stamp 
of elegance and refinement. Pedestals, supporting 
marble busts, stood in the angles of the staircase ; there 
were orange trees in jars in the hall, and antique frag- 
ments adorned the walls. However, I saw these only 
in passing ; in a moment I reached the head of the 
stairs, and the man opening a door, stood aside. 

I entered the room, my e3^es shining ; in a dream, an 
impossible dream, that held possession of me for one 
moment, that Denise — not Mademoiselle de St. Alais, 
but Denise, the girl who loved me and with whom I 
had never been alone, might be there to receive me. 
Instead, a stranger rose slowly from a seat in one of 
the window bays, and, after a moment's hesitation, 
came forward to meet me ; a strange hidy, tall, grave, 
and very handsome, whose dark eyes scanned me 
seriously, while th<j blood rose a little to her pure olive 

Seeing that she was a stranger, I began to stannner 
an apology for my intrusion. She curtsied. " Mon- 
sieur need not excuse himself," she said, smiling. " He 
was expected, and a meal is ready. If you will allow 
Gervais," she continued, " he will take you to a room, 
where you can remove the dust of the road." 


" But, Madame," I staiiiiiiered, still hesitating. " I 
am afraid that I am trespassing." 

She shook her head, smiling. " Be so good," she 
said ; and waved her hand towards the door. 

" But my horse," I answered, standing bewildered. 
" I have left it in the street." 

"It will be cared for," she said. "Will you be so 
kind?" And she pointed with a little imperious ges- 
ture to the door. 

I went then in utter amazement. The man who had 
led me upstairs was outside. He preceded me along 
a wide airy passage to a bedroom, in which I found all 
that I needed to refresh my toilet. He took my coat 
and hat, and attended me with the skill of one trained 
to such offices ; and in a state of desperate bewilder- 
ment, I suffered it. But when, recovering a little 
from my confusion, I opened my mouth to ask a 
question, he begged me to excuse him ; Madame would 

"Madame ?" I said; and looked at him in- 
terrogatively, and waited for him to fill the 

"Yes, Monsieur, Madame will explain," he answered 
glibly, and without a smile ; and then, seeing that I was 
ready, he led me back, not to the room I had left, but 
to another. 

I went in, like a man in a dream ; not doubting, 
however, that now I should have an answer to the 
riddle. But I found none. The room was spacious, and 
parquet-floored, with three high narrow wmdows, of 
which one, partly open, let in the murmur of the street. 
A small wood fire burned on a wide hearth between 
carved marble pillars ; and in one corner of the room 
stood a harpsichord, harp, and music-stand. Nearer the 
fire a small round table, daintily laid for supper, and 

AT XJMES. 265 

lic^hted by candles, placet! in old silver sconces, pre- 
sented a charming picture ; and by it stood the lady I 
had seen. 

"Are you cold?" she said, coming forwai'd frankly, 
as I advanced. 

"No, Madame." 

" Then we will sit down at once," she answered. And 
she pointed to the table. 

I took the seat she indicated, and saw with astonish- 
ment that covers were laid for two onlv. She caught 
the look, and blushed faintly, and her lip trembled as 
if with the effort to suppress a smile. But she said 
nothing, and any thought to her disadvantage which 
might have entered my mind was anticipated, not only 
by the sedate courtesy of her manner, but by the 
appearance of the room, the show of wealth and ease 
that surrounded her, and the very respectability of the 
butler who waited on us. 

" Have you ridden far to-day?" she said, crumbling 
a roll with her fingers as if she were not quite free from 
nervousness ; and looking now at the table and now 
again at me in a way almost appealing. 

" From Sauve, Madame," I answered. 

" Ah ! And you propose to go ? " 

" No farther." 

" I am glad to hear it," she said, witii a charming 
smile. " You are a stranger in Nimes ? " 

" I was. I do not feel so now." 

" Thank you," she answered, her eyes meeting nnne 
without reserve. " That you may feel more at home, I 
am going presently to tell you my name. Y'onrs 1 do 
not ask." 

" You do not know it?" I cried. 

" No," she said, laughing ; and I saw, as she laughed, 
tiiat she was younger thnn T Imrl thought ; that she 


was little more than a girl. " Of course, you can tell it 
me if you please," she added lightly. 

" Then, Madame, I do please," I answered gallantly. 
" I am the Vicomte de Saux, of Saux by Cahors, and 
am very much at your service." 

She held her hand suspended, and stared at me a 
moment in undisguised astonishment. I even thought 
that I read something like terror in her eyes. Then 
she said : " Of Saux by Cahors ? " 

" Yes, Madame. And I am driven to fear," I con- 
tinued, seeing the effect my words produced, " that I 
am here in the place of some one else." 

" Oh, no ! " she said. Then, her feelings seeming to 
find sudden vent, she laughed and clapped her hands. 
"No, Monsieur," she cried gaily, " there is no error, 
I assure you. On the contrary, now I know who you 
are, I will give yon a toast. Alphonse ! Fill M. le 
Vicomte's glass, and then leave us ! So ! Now, M. le 
Vicomte," she continued, " you must drink with me, a 
V Aiujlaise, to " 

She paused and looked at me slily, " I am all 
attention, Madame," I said, bowing. 

" To la belle Denise ! " she said. 

It was my turn to start and stare now ; in confusion 
as well as surprise. But she only laughed the more, 
and, clappmg her hands with childish abandon, bade 
me, " Drink, Monsieur, drink ! " 

T did so bravely, though I coloured under her eyes. 

" That is well," she said, as I set down the glass. 
"Now, Monsieur, I shall be able — in the proper quarter 
— to report you no recreant." 

" But, Madame," I said, " how do you know the 
proper quarter ? " 

"How do T know?" she answered naively. "Ah, 
that is the question." 

AT XIMES. 267 

But she did not answer it ; though I remarked that 
from this moment she took a different tone witli me. 
She dropped much of the reserve which she had 
hitherto maintained, and began to pour upon me a fire 
of wit and badinage, merriment and plaisanterie, 
against which I defended myself as well as I could, 
where all the advantage of knowledge lay with her. 
Such a duel with so fair an antagonist had its charms, 
the more as Denise and my relations to her formed the 
main objects of her raillery : yet I was not sorry when 
a clock, striking eight, produced a sudden silence and 
a change in her, as great as that which had preceded 
it. Her face grew almost sombre, she sighed, and sat 
looking gravely before her. I ventured to ask if any- 
thing ailed her. 

"Only this. Monsieur," she answered. "That 1 
must now put you to the test ; and you may fail me." 

" You wish me to do something? " 

" I wish you to give me your escort," she answered, 
" to a place and back again." 

" T am ready," I cried, rising gaily. " If I were not 
I slioiild be a recreant indeed. Ikit I think, Madame, 
that you were going to tell me your name." 

" 1 am Madame Catinot," she answered. And then 
— I do not know what she I'cad in my face, " I am a 
widow," she added, blushing dee))ly. " For the rest you 
are no wiser." 

" But always at your service, Madame." 

" So be it," she answered quietly. " 1 will meet you, 
M. le Viconitn, in tlic Imll, if yf)n \\\\\ |>rcscnlly descend 

I held tlie door for liei to ••o out., ami she went ; and 
wondering, and inexpressibly pn/zled by the strangeness 
oi the adventure, I paced up and ilfiwn the room a 
minute, and then tMll.,\\((| her. A hanging lanip 

26S Till-: RED COCKADE. 

which Ht the hall showed her to me standing at the 
foot of the stairs ; her hair hidden by a black lace 
mantilla, her dress under a cloak of the same dark 
colour. Tlie man who had admitted me gave me in 
silence my cloak and hat ; and without a word Madame 
led the way along a passage. 

Over a door at the end of the passage was a second 
light. It fell on my hat — as I was about to put it on — 
and I started and stood. Instead of the tricolour I 
had been wearing in the hat, I saw a small red tockade ! 

Madame heard me stop, and turning, dpscovered 
what was the matter. She laid her hand on/my arm ; 
and the hand trembled. " For an hour. Monsieur, 
only for an hour," she breathed in my ear. "Give me 
your arm." 

Somewhat agitated — I began to scent danger and 
comphcations — I put on the hat and gave her my arm, 
and in a moment we stood in the open air in a dark, 
narrow passage between high walls. She turned at 
once to the left, and we walked in silence a hundred, 
or a hundred and fifty, paces, which brought us to a 
low-browed doorway on the same side, through which 
a light poured out. Madame guiding me by a slight 
pressure, we passed through this, and a narrow vesti- 
bule beyond it ; and in a moment I found myself, 
to my astonishment, in a church, half full of silent 

Madame enjoined silence by laying her finger on her 
lip, and led the way along one of the dim aisles, until 
we came to a vacant chair beside a pillar. She signed 
to me to stand by the pillar, and herself knelt down. 

Left at liberty to survey the scene, and form my 
conclusions, I looked about me like a man in a dream. 
The body of the church, faintly lit, was rendered more 
gloomy by the black cloaks and veils of the vast kneel- 

AT XIMES. 26q 

ing crowd that filled the nave and grew each moment 
more dense. The men for the most part stood beside 
pillars, or at the back of the church ; and from these 
parts came now and then a low stern muttering, the 
only sound that broke the heavy silence. A red lamp 
burning before the altar added one touch of sombre 
colour to the scene. 

I had not stood long before I felt the silence, and 
the crowd, and the empty vastnesses above us, begin 
to weigh me down ; before my heart began to beat 
quickly in expectation of I knew not what. And then 
at last, wjien this feeling had grown almost intolerable, 
out of the silence about the altar came the first melan- 
choly notes, the wailing refrain of the psalm. Miserere 
Do mine ! 

It had a solemn and wondrous effect as it rose and 
fell, in the glooui, in the silence, above the heads of the 
kneeling multitude, who one moment were there and 
the next, as the lights sank, were gone, leaving only 
blackness and emptiness and space — and that spas- 
modic wailing. As the pleading, almost desperate 
notes, floated down the long aisles, borne on the pal- 
])itating hearts of the listeners, a hand seemed to grasp 
the throat, the eyes grew dim, strong men's heads 
bowed lt)wer, and strong men's hands trembled. 
Miserere mci Dens ! Miserere Domine ! 

.\t last it catne to nn end. 'i'lie psalm died down, 
and on ti)e darkness and dead silence that succeeded, 
a light flared up suddenly in one ])lacf', and showed a 
pale, keen face and eyes that burned, as they gazed, 
woi at the dim crowd, but into the enjpty space above 
them, whence grim, carved visages peered vaguely 
out of fretted vaults. And the preacher began to 

In a low voice at first, and with little emotiou, he 


spoke of the ways? of God with His creatures, of the 
immensity of the past and the httleness of the present, 
of the Omnipotence before wliicli time and space and 
men were nothing ; of the certainty that as God, the 
Ahiaighty, the Everlasting, the Ever-present decreed, 
it tvas. And then, in fuller tones, he went on to 
speak of the Church, God's agent on earth, and of the 
work which it had done in past ages, converting, 
protecting, shielding the weak, staying the strong, 
baptising, marrying, burying. God's handmaid, God's 
vicegerent. " Of whom alone it comes," the preacher 
continued, raising his hand now, and speaking in a 
voice that throbbed louder and fuller through the 
spaces of the church, "that we are more than animals, 
that knowing who is behind the veil we fear not 
temporal things, nor think of death as the worst 
possible, as do the unbelieving ; but having that on 
which we rest, outside and beyond the world, can view 
unmoved the worst that the world can do to us. We 
believe ; therefore, we are strong. We believe in God ; 
therefore, we are stronger than the world. We believe 
in God ; therefore, we are of God, and not of the world. 
We are above the world ! we are about the world, and 
in the strength of God, who is the God of Hosts, 
shall subdue the world." % 

He paused, holding the crowd breathless ; then in a 
lower tone he continued: "Yet how do the heathen 
rage and the people imagine a vain thing? They 
trample on God ! They say this exists, I see it. That 
exists, I hear it. The other exists, I touch it. And 
that is all — that is all. But does it come of what we 
see and hear and feel that a man will die for his brother ? 
Does it come of what we see and hear and feel that a 
man will die for a thouj^ht? That he will die for a 
creed? That he will die for honour? That, withal, 

AT XIMES. 2-j\ 

he will die for anything — for anything, while he may 
live '? I trow not. It comes of God ! Of God only. 

" And they trample on Him. In the streets, in the 
senate, in high places. And He says, ' Who is on My 
side ? ' My children, my brethren, we have lived long 
in a time of ease and safety ; we have been long untried 
by aught but the ordinary troubles of life, untrained b}' 
the imminent issues of life and death. Now, in these 
late years of the world, it has pleased the Almighty to 
try us ; and who is on His side ? Who is prepared to 
put the unseen before the seen, honour before life, God 
before man, chivalry before baseness, the Church 
before the world ? Who is on His side ? Spurned in 
this little corner of His creation, bruised and bleeding 
and trampled under foot, yet ruler of earth and heaven, 
life and death, judgment and eternity, ruler of all the 
countless worlds of space, He comes ! He comes ! 
He comes, God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to 
be ! And who is on His side ? " 

As the last word fell from his lips, and the light 
above his head went suddenly out, and darkness fell 
on the breathless hush, the listening hundreds, an 
indescribable wave of emotion passed through the 
crowd. iNIen stirred their feet witli a strange, stern 
sound, that spreading, passed in miiLlercd thunder to 
the vaults ; while women sobbed, and liere and there 
shrieked and jn-ayed aloud. From the altar a priest in 
a voice that shook witli feeling blessed the congrega- 
tion ; then, even as I awoke from a trance of attention, 
Madame tcjuched my arm, and signed to me to fi^llovv 
her, and gliding quickly from her place, led the way 
down the aisle. Before tlie preacher's last words had 
ceased to- ring in my ears or my heart had forgotten 
to be moved, we were walking under the stars with 
the night air cooling our faces ; a moment, and we 


were in the house and stood again in the hghted salon 
where I had first found Madame Catinot. 

Before I knew what she was going to do, she turned 
to nie witli a swift movement, and laid both her bare 
hands on my arm ; and I saw that the tears were 
running down her face. " AVho is on My side?" she 
cried, in a voice that thrihed me to the soul, so that I 
started where I stood. "Who is on My side? Oh, 
surely you ! Surely you, Monsieur, whose fathers' 
swords were drawn for God and the King ! Who, 
born to guide, are surely on the side of light ! Wlio, 
noble, w^ill never leave the task of government to the 

base ! O " and there, breaking off before I could 

answer, she turned from me with her hands clasped to 
her face. "0 God! "' she cried with sobs, "give me 
this man for Thy service." 

I stood inexpressibly troubled ; moved by the sight 
of this woman in tears, shaken by the conflict in mv 
own soul, somewhat unmanned, perhaps, by what I 
had seen. For a moment I could not speak ; when I 
did, "Madame," I said unsteadily, "if I had known 
that it was for this 1 You have been kind to me, and 
I — I can make no return." 

" Don't say it ! " she cried, turning to me and pleading 
with me. "Don't say it ! " And she laid her clasped 
hands on my arm and looked at me, and then in a 
moment smiled through her tears. "Forgive me," 
she said humbly, " forgive me. I went about it wrongly. 
I feel — too much. I asked too quickly. But you will? 
You will, Monsieur ? You will be worthy of yourself? " 

I groaned. " I hold their connnission," I said. 

" Keturn it ! " 

" But that will not acquit me ! " 

"Who is on My side ? " she said softly. "Who is 
on My side?" 

AT NIMES. 27^ 

I drew a deep breath. In the silence of the room, 
the wood-ashes on the hearth settled down, and a clock 
ticked. "For God! For God and the King!" she 
said, looking up at me with shining eyes, with clasped 

I could have sworn in my pain. " To what purpose ? " 
I cried almost rudely. " If I were to say, yes, to what 
purpose, Madame? What could I do that would help 
you '? What could I do that would avail ? " 

" Everything ! Everything ! You are one man 
more!" she cried. "One man more for the right. 
Listen, Monsieur. You do not know what is afoot, or 
how we are pressed, or " 

She stopped suddenly, abruptly ; and looked at me, 
listening ; listening with a new expression on her face. 
The door was not closed, and the voice of a man, 
speaking in the hall below, came up the staircase ; 
another instant, and a quick foot crossed the hall, and 
sounded on the stairs. The man was coming up. 

Madame, face to face with me, dumb and listening 
with distended eyes, stood a moment, as if taken by sur- 
prise. At the last moment, warning me by a gesture 
to be silent, she swept to the door and went out, closing 
it — not quite closing it behind her. 

I judged that the man had almost reached it, for I 
heard him exclaim in surprise at her sudden appear- 
ance ; then he said something in a tone which did not 
reach me. I lost her answer too, but his n(^xt woi-ds 
were audible enough. 

" You will not open the door? " he cried. 

" Not of that room," she replied bravely. " You can 
see me in the other, my friend." 

Then silence. I could almost hear them breathing. 
I could picture them looking defiance at one another. 
I grew hot. 


2 74 7"W£: RED COCKADE. 

"Oh, this IS intolerable! " he cried at last. "This is 
not to be borne. Are you to receive every stranger 
that comes to town? Are you to be closeted with 
them, and sup with them, and sit with them, while I 
eat my heart out outside ? Am I — I 'will go in ! " 

" You shall not ! " she cried ; but I thought that the 
indignation in her voice rang false ; that laughter 
underlay it. " It is enough that you insult me," she 
continued proudl3^ " But if you dare to touch me, or 
if you insult him " 

"Plim!" he cried fiercely. "Him, indeed! Madame, 
I tell you at once, I have borne enough. I have suf- 
fered this more than once, but " 

But I had no longer any doubt, and before he could 
add the next word I was at the door — I had snatched 
it open, and stood before him. Madame fell back with 
a cry between tears and laughter, and we stood, looking 
at one another. 

The man was Louis St. Alais. 




I HAD not seen Louis since the day of tiie duel at Cahors, 
when, parting from him at the door in the passage by 
the Cathedral, 1 had refused to take his liand. Then I 
had been sorely angry with liiin. J^ut time and old 
memories and crowding events had long softened the 
feehng ; and in the joy of meeting him again, of finding 
him in this unexpected stranger, nothing was further 
fnjm my thoughts than to rake up old grudges. I held 
out my hand, therefore, with a laughing word. " Valid 
I'Inconnu, Mousieu]- ! ■ I said with a bow. " I am here 
to find you, and I find you ! " 

He stared at me a moment in tlu- ulniost astonish- 
ment, and then impulsively grasping my hand lie held 
it, and stood looking at me, with the old affection in his 
eyes. " Adrien ! Adi-ion ! " ho said, much moved. " Ts 
it really you?" 

" Even so. Monsieur." 

"And here?" 

" Here," I said. 

Th(;n, t(j my astonishment, he slowly dropped my 
hand ; and his manner and his face changed — as a house 
changoH when the shutters are closed. "T ;iiii smiiv 
for it," h<! said slowly, and after a long pause. And 
then, with an unmistakable flash of anger, " INIy God, 
Monsieur! Why have you come?" he cried. 

" Why have I come? " 


"Xy, why?" he repeated bitterly. "Why? Why 
have you come — to trouble us ? You do not know 
what evil you are doing ! You do not know, man ! " 

" I know at least what good I am seeking," I an- 
swered, purely astounded by this sudden and inexpli- 
cable change. "I have made no secret of that, and I 
make no secret of it now. No man was ever worse 
treated than I have been by your family. Your atti- 
tude now impels me to say that. But when I see 
Madame la Marquise, to-morrow, I shall tell her that 
it will take more than this to change me. I shall tell 
her " 

" You will not see her ! " he answered. 

" But I shall ! " 

" You will not ! " he retorted. 

Before I could answer, Madame Catinot interposed. 
" Oh, no more ! " she cried in a voice which sufficiently 
evinced her distress. " I thought that you and he were 
friends, M. Louis? And now — now that fortune has 
brought you together again " 

" Would to heaven it had not ! " he cried, dropping 
his hand like a man in despair. And he took a turn 
this way and that on the floor. 

She looked at him. " I do not think that you have 
ever spoken to me in that tone before. Monsieur," she 
said in a tone of keen reproach. "If it is due — if, I 
mean," she continued quietly, but with a sparkling eye, 
" it is because you found M. le Vicomte with me, you 
infer something unworthy of us. You insult me as well 
as your friend ! " 

" Heaven forbid ! " he exclaimed. 

But she was roused. " That is not enough," she 
answered firmly and proudly. "For one week more, 
this is my house, M. Louis. After that it will be yours. 
Perhaps then — perhaps then," she continued, with a 


pitiful break in her voice, " I shall think of to-night, 
and wonder I took no warning ! Perhaps then, Mon- 
sieur, a word of kindness from you may be as rare as a 
rough word now I " 

He was not proof against that, and the sadness in her 
voice. He threw himself on his knees before her and 
seized her hands. " Madame ! Catherine ! for^-ive 
me ! " he cried passionately, kissing her hands again 
and again, and taking no heed of me at all. " Forgive 
me ! " he continued, " I am miserable ! You are my 
only comfort, my only compensation. I do not know, 
since I saw him, what I am saying. Forgive me ! " 

"I do!" she said hastily. " Eise, Monsieur!" and 
she furtively wiped away a tear, then looked at me, 
blushing but happy. " I do," she continued. " But, 
mon cher, I do not understand you. The other day 
you spoke so kindly of M. de Saux ; and of — pardon me 
— your sister, and of other things. To-day M. de Saux 
is here, and you are unhappy." 

" I am ! " he said, casting a haggard, miserable look 
at me. 

I shrugged my shoulders and spoke up. " So be it," 
T said proudly. " Tint because I have lost a friend, 
Monsieur, it does not f(jllow that I need lose a mistress. 
I have come to Nimes to win Mademoiselle de St. 
Alais' hand. I sliall not leave until I have won it." 

" This is inadiicss ! " he said, willi a groan. 


" Because you talk of the impossible," he answered. 
" Because Madame de St. Alais is not at Nimes — for you." 

"She is at Nimes!" 

" You will have to find iior." 

" That is childishness !" I said. " Do yuu mcaii lo say 
that at the first hotel I enter I shall nf)t be told where 
Madame has licr lodging?" 


" Neither at the first, nor at the last." 

" She is in retreat '? " 

"I shall not tell you." 

With that we stood facing one another ; Madame 
Catinot watching ns a little aside. Clearly the events 
of the last few months, which had so changed, so har- 
dened Madame St. Alais, had not been lost on Louis. 
I could fancy, as I confronted him, that it was M. le 
Marquis, the elder, and not the younger brother, who 
withstood me ; only — only from under Louis' mask of 
defiance, there peeped, I still fancied, the old Louis' 
face, doubting and miserable. 

I tried that chord. " Come," I said, making an effort 
to swallow my wrath, and speak reasonably, " I think 
that you are not in earnest, M. le Comte, in what ^''ou 
say, and that we are both heated. Time was when we 
agreed well enough, and you were not unwilling to have 
me for your brother-in-law. Are we, because of these 
miserable differences " 

" Differences ! " he cried, interrupting me harshly. 
" My mother's house in Cahors is an empty shell. My 
brother's house .at St. Alais is a heap of ashes. And 
you talk of differences ! " 

" Well, call them what you like ! " 

"Besides," Madame Catinot interposed quickly, "par- 
don me, Monsieur — besides, M. St. Alais, you know our 
need of converts. M. le Vicomte is a gentleman, and 
a man of sense and religion. It needs but a little — a 
very little," she continued, smiling faintly at me, " to 
persuade him. And if your sister's hand would do that 
little, and Madame were agreeable ? " 

" He could not have it ! " he answered sullenly, look- 
ing away from me. 

" But a week ago," Madame Catinot answered m a 
startled tone, " you told me " 


" A week aofo is not now," he said. "For the rest, 
I have only this to say. I am sorry to see you here, 
M. le Vicomte, and I beg you to return. You can do 
no good, and you may do and suffer harm. By no 
possibiHty can you gain what you seek." 

" That remains to be seen," I answered stubbornly, 
roused in my turn. " To begin with, since you say that 
I cannot find Mademoiselle, I shall adopt a very simple 
plan. I shall wait here until you leave. Monsieur, and 
then accompany y(iu home." 
" You will not ! " he said. 

"You may depend upon it I shall!" I answered 

But Madame interposed. " No, M. de Saux," she 
said with dignity. " You will not do that ; I am sure 
that you will not ; it would be an abuse of my hospit- 

""^ If you forbid it?" 
" I do," she answered. 

" Then, Madame, I cannot," I replied. " But " 

"But nothing! Let there be a truce now, if you 
please," she said firmly. "If it is to be war between 
you, it shall not begin here. I think, too — I think that 
I had better ask you to retire," she continued, with an 
appealing glance at me. 

I l(j<jked at Louis. But he had turned away, and 
afTcctod to ignore me. And on that I succumbed. It 
was impossible to answer Madame, when she spoke to 
mo in that way; and equally inipossiljle to remain in 
the house, against her will. I bowed, thercfoie, in 
siiencG ; and with the best grace I could, though I was 
sore and ungry, I took my cloak and hat, which I had 
laid on a chair. 

" f am sorry," Madame said kindly. And she lield oi\t 
her hand, 


I raised it to my lips. " To-morrow — at twelve — 
here ! " she breathed. 

I started. I rather guessed than heard the words, 
so softly were they spoken ; but her eyes made up 
for the lack of sound, and I understood. The next 
moment she turned from me, and with a last reluctant 
glance at Louis, who still had his back to me, I went out. 

The man who had admitted me was in the hall. 
" You will find your horse at the Louvre, Moiisieur," 
he said, as he opened the door. 

I rewarded him, and going out, without a thought 
whither I was going, walked along the street, plunged 
in reflection ; until marching on blindly I came against 
a man. That awoke me, and I looked round. I had 
been in the house little more than three hours, and in 
Nimes scarcely longer ; yet so much had happened in 
the time that it seemed strange to me to find the 
streets unfamiliar, to find myself alone in them, at a 
loss which way to turn. Though it was hard on ten 
o'clock, and only a swaying lantern here and there 
made a ring of smoky light at the meeting of four ways, 
there were numbers of people still abroad ; a few 
standing, but the majority going one way, the men 
with cloaks about their necks, the women with mufided 

Feeling the necessity, since I must get myself a 
lodging, of putting away for the moment my one 
absorbing thought — the question of Louis' behaviour — 
I stopped a man who was not going with the stream, 
and asked him the way to the Hotel de Louvre. I 
learned not only that but the cause of the concourse. 

" There has been a procession," he answered gruffly. 
" I should have thought that you would know that ! " 
he added, with a glance at my hat. And he turned on 
h'v.i heel. 


I remembered the red cockade I wore, and before I 
went farther paused to take it out. As I moved on 
again, a man came quickly up behind me, and as he 
passed thrust a paper into nay hand. Before I could 
speak he was gone ; but the incident and the bustle of 
the streets, strange at this late hour, helped to divert 
my thoughts ; and I was not surprised when, on 
reaching the inn, I was told that every room was full. 

" My horse is here," I said, thinking that the land- 
lord, seeing me walk in on foot, might distrust the 
weight of my purse. 

" Yes, Monsieur ; and if you hke you can he in the 
eating-room," he answered very civilly. "You are 
welcome, and you will do no better elsewhere. It is 
as if the fair were being held at Beaucaire. The city 
is full of strangers. Almost as full as it is of those 
things ! " he continued querulously, and he pointed to 
the paper in my hand. 

I looked at it, and saw that it was a manifesto headed 
"Sacrilege/ Mary Weeps/" " It was thrust into my 
hand a minute ago," I said. 

"To be sure," he answered. "One niornnig we got 
up and found the walls white with them. Another 
day they were flying loose about the streets." 

"Do you know," I asked, seeing that he bad ])ccn 
supi)iiig, and was inclined to talk, " where the Marquis 
de St. Alais is living?" 

"No, Monsieur," he said. "I do not know the gen- 

" P)iil he is liorc witli his f:uuily." 

" Who is not here," lie answered, slinigging his 
shoulders. Then in a lower tone, " Is he red, or — or 
the other thing. Monsieur?" 

"lied," I said boldly. 

" Ah ! Well, there have been two or three gentlemen 


going to and fro between our M. Froment, and Turin 
and Montpellier. It is said that our Mayor would have 
arrested them long ago if he had done his duty. But 
he is red too, and most of tlie councillors. And I don't 
know, for I take no side. Perhaps the gentleman you 
want is one of these ? " 

" Very likely," I said. " So M. Froment is here ? " 

" Monsieur knows him ? " 

" Yes," I said drily, " a little." 

" Well, he is here, or he is not," the landlord answered, 
shaking his head. " It is impossible to say." 

" Why ? " I asked. " Does he not Hve here '? " 

" Yes, he lives here ; at the Port d'Auguste on the 

old wall near the Capuchins. But " he looked 

round and then continued mysteriously, " he goes out, 
where he has never gone in, Monsieur ! And he has a 
house in the Amphitheatre, and it is the same there. 
And some say that the Capuchins is only another house 
of his. And if you go to the Cabaret de la Yierge, and 
give his name — you pay nothing." 

He said this with many nods, and then seemed on a 
sudden to think that he had said too much, and hurried 
away. Asking for them, I learned that M. de Geol and 
Buton, failing to get a room there, had gone to the 
Ecu de France ; but I was not very sorry to be rid of 
them for the time, and accepting the host's offer, I 
went to the eating-room, and there made myself as 
comfortable as two hard chairs and the excitement 
of my thoughts permitted. 

The one thing, the one subject that absorbed me 
was Louis' behaviour, and the strange and abrupt 
change I had marked in it. He had been glad to see 
me, his hand had leaped to meet mine, I had read the 
old affection in his eyes ; and then — then on a sudden, 
in a moment he had frozen into surly, churlish an- 


tagoiiism, an antagonism that had taken Madame 
Catinot by surprise, and was not without a toucli of 
remorse, almost of horror. It could not be that she 
was dead ? It could not be that Denise — no, my mind 
failed to entertain it. But I rose, trembling at the 
thought, and paced the room until daylight ; listening 
to the watchman's cry, and the mournful hours, and 
the occasional rush of hurrying feet, that spoke of the 
perturbed city. What to me were Froment, or the red 
or the white or the tricolour, veto or no veto, endow- 
ment or disendowment, in comparison to that ? 

The house stirred at last, but I had still to wait till 
noon before I could see INIadame Catinot. I spent the 
interval in an aimless walk through the town. At 
another time the things I saw must have filled me 
with wonder ; at another time the hoary, gloomy ring 
of the Arenes, rising in tiers of frowning arches, high 
above the squalid roofs that leaned against it — and 
choked within by a Ghetto of the like, huddled where 
prefects once sat, and the Emperor's colours flew vic- 
torious round the circle — must have won my admiration 
by its vastness ; the Maison Carree by its fair propor- 
tions; the streets by the teeming crowds that lillcd them, 
and stood about the cabarets, and read the placaids 
on the walls. But I had only thought for Louis, and 
my love, and the lagging minutes. At the first stn^ke 
of twelve I knocked at Madame Catinot's door ; the 
last saw me in her presence. 

It needed but a look at her face, and my heart sank ; 
the thanks I was preparing to utter died on my lips as 
I gazed at her. She on l)er part was agitated. L'or 
a moment we were both silent. 

At last, "I see that you have bad news i>>v mo, 
Madame," I said, striving to smile, and bear myself 


" The worst, I fear," she said pitifully, smoothing 
her skirt. " For I have none, Monsieur." 

" Yet I have heard it said that no news is good news ? " 
I said, wondering. 

Her lip tremhied, hut she did not look at me. 

" Come, Madame," I persisted, thougli I was sick at 
heart. " Surely you are going to tell me more than 
that? At least you can tell me where I can see 
Madame St. Alais." 

" No, Monsieur, I cannot tell you," she said in a low 

" Nor why M. Louis has so suddenly become hostile 
to me?" 

"No, Monsieur, nor that. And I beg — as you are a 
gentleman," she continued hurriedly, "that you will 
spare me questions ! I thought that I could help you, 
and I asked you to see me to-day. I find that I can 
only give you pain." 

" And that is all, Madame ? " 

" That is all," she said, with a gesture that told more 
than her words. 

I looked round the silent room, I walked half way to 
the door. And then I turned back. I could not go. 
" No ! " I cried vehemently, " I will not go so ! What 
is it you have learned, that has closed your lips, 
Madame ? What are they plotting against her — that 
you fear to tell me ? Speak, Madame ! You did not 
bring me here to hear this ! That I know." 

But she only looked at me, her face full of reproach. 
"Monsieur," she said, "I meant kindly. Is this my 
reward ? " 

And that was too much for me. I turned without a 
word, and went out — of the room and the house. 

Outside I felt like a child in darkness, on whom the 
one door leading to life and liberty had closed, as his 


hand touched it. I felt a dead, numbing disappoint- 
ment that at any moment might develop into sharp 
pain. This change in Madame Catinot, resembling so 
exacth' the change in Louis St. Alais, what could be the 
cause of it? What had been revealed to her? What 
was the mystery, the plot, the danger that made them 
all turn from me, as if I had the plague ? 

For awhile I was in the depths of despair. Then 
the warm sunshine that filled the streets, and spoke of 
coming summer, kindled lighter thoughts. After all 
it could not be hard to find a person in Nimes ! I had 
soon found M. Louis. And this was the eighteenth 
century and not the sixteenth. W^omen were no longer 
exposed to the pressure that had once been brought to 
bear on them ; nor men to the violence natural in old 

And then — as I thought of that and strove to comfort 
myself with it — I heard a noise burst into the street 
behind me, a roar of voices and a sudden trampling of 
hundreds of feet ; and turning I saw a dense press of 
men coming towards me, waving aloft blue banners, 
and crucifixes, and flags with the Five Wounds. Some 
were singing and some shouting, all were brandishing 
chiljs and weapons. Tliey came along at a good pace, 
lining tlie street from wall to wall; and to avoid them 
I stepped into an archway, that opportunely presented 

They came up in a moment, and swept past me with 
deafening shouts. It was dil'licult to see more than a 
forest of waving arms and staves over swart excited 
faces; but through a l;rcak in the ranks I caught a 
ghinpse of three men walking in the heart of the crowd, 
quiet themselves, yet the cause and centre of all ; and 
the middle man oi the three was Fromcnt. One of 
the otliers wore a cassock, and the iliird hud a reckless 


air, and a hat cocked in the military fashion. So much 
I saw, then only rank upon rank of hurrying shouting 
men. After these again followed three or four hundred 
of the scum of the city, beggars and broken rascals and 
homeless men. 

As I turned from staring after them I found a man 
at my elbow ; by a strange coincidence the very same 
man who, the night before, had directed me to the 
Hotel de Louvre. I asked him if that was not M. 

" Yes," he said with a sneer. " And his brother." 

" Oh, his brother ! What is his name, Monsieur? " 

" Bully Froment, some call him." 

" And what are they going to do? " 

"Groan outside a Protestant church to-day," he 
answered pithily. " To-morrow break the windows. 
The next day, or as soon as they can get their courage 
to the sticking point, fire on the worshippers, and call 
in the garrison from Montpellier. After that the re- 
fugees from Turin will come, we shall be in revolt, and 
there will be dragoonings. And then — if the Ceven- 
nols don't step in — Monsieur will see strange things." 

"But the Mayor?" I said. "And the National 
Guards ? Will they suffer it ? " 

" The first is red," the man answered curtly. " And 
two-thirds of the last. Monsieur will see." 

And with a cool nod he went on his way ; while I 
stood a moment looking idly after the procession. On 
a sudden, as I stood, it occurred to me that where 
Froment was, the St. Alais might be ; and snatching 
at the idea, wondering hugely that I had not had it 
before, I started recklessly in pursuit of the mob. The 
last broken wave of the crowd was still visible, eddying 
round a distant corner ; and even after that disappeared, 
it was easy to trace the course it had taken by closed 


shutters and scared faces peeping from windows. I 
heard the mob stop once, and groan and howl ; but 
before I came up with it it was on again, and when I 
at last overtook it, where one of the streets, before 
narrowing to an old gateway, opened out into a little 
square — with high dingy buildings on this side and 
that, and a meshwork of alleys running into it — the 
nucleus of the crowd had vanished, and the fringe was 
melting this way and that. 

My aim was Froment, and I had missed him. But 
I was at a loss only for a moment, for as I stood and 
scanned the people trooping back into the town, my 
eye alighted on a lean figure with stooping head and 
a scanty cassock, that, wishing to cross the street, 
paused a moment striving to pass athwart the crowd. 
It needed a glance only ; then, with a cry of joy, I was 
through the press, and at the man's side. 

It was Father Benoit ! For a moment we could not 
speak. Then, as we looked at one another, the first 
hasty joyful words spoken, I saw the very expression 
of dismay and discomfiture, which I had read on Louis 
St. Alais' face, dawn on his ! He muttered, " mon 
Dieu ! moil Dieu!" under his breath, and wrung his 
hands stealthily. 

But I was sick of this mystery, and I said so in hot 
words. "You at any rate shall tell me, father!" 1 

Two or three of the passers-by heard me, and looked 
at us curiously. Ho drew me, to escape these, into a 
doorway ; but still a man stood peering in at us. 
"Come upstairs," the father muttered, "we shall be 
quiet there." And he led the way up a stone staircase, 
ancient and sordid, serving many and cleaned by none. 

" Do you live here?" I said. 

" Yes," he answered ; and then stopped short, and 


turned to me with an air of confusion. " But it is a 
poor place, M. le Vicomte," he continued, and he even 
made as if he would descend again, " and perhaps we 
should be wise to go " 

"No, no!" I said, burning with impatience. "To 
your room, man ! To your room, if you live here ! I 
cannot wait. I have found you, and I will not let 
another minute pass before I have learned the truth." 

He still hesitated, and even began to mutter another 
objection. But I had only mind for one thing, and 
giving way to me, he preceded me slowly to the top of 
the house ; where under the tiles he had a little room 
with a mattress and a chair, two or three books and a 
crucifix. A small square dormer-window admitted the 
light — and something else ; for as we entered a pigeon 
rose from the floor and flew out by it. 

He uttered an exclamation of annoyance, and ex- 
plained that he fed them sometimes. " They are 
company," he said sadly. " And I have found little here." 

"Yet you came of your own accord," I retorted 
brutally. I was choking with anxiety, and it took that 

"To lose one more illusion," he answered. "For 
years — you know it, M. le Vicomte — I looked forward 
to reform, to liberty, to freedom. And I taught others 
to look forward also. Well, we gained these — you 
know it, and the first use the people made of their 
liberty was to attack religion. Then I came here, be- 
cause I was told that here the defenders of the Church 
would make a stand ; that here the Church was strong, 
religion respected, faith still vigorous. I came to gain 
a little hope from others' hope. And I find pretended 
miracles, I find imposture, I find lies and trickery and 
chicanery used on one side and the other. And violence 


" Then in heaven's name, man, why did you not go 
home again'?" I cried. 

" I was going a week ago," he answered. " And then 
I did not go. And " 

"Never mind tliat now!'" I cried harshly. " It is 
not that I want. I have seen Louis St. Alais, and I 
know that there is something amiss. He will not face 
me. He will not tell me where Madame is. He will 
have nothing to do with me. He looks at me as if I 
were a death's head ! Now what is it '? You know 
and I must know. Tell me." 

" Man Dieic /" he answered. And he looked at me 
with tears in his eyes. Then, " This is what I feared," 
he said. 

" Feared V Feared what '? " I cried. 

" That your heart was in it, M. le Vicomte." 

"In what? In what? Speak plainly, man." 

" Mademoiselle de St. Alais' — engagement," he said. 

I stood a moment staring at him. "Her engage- 
ment ? " I whispered. " To whom ? " 

" To M. Froment," he answered. 





" It is impossible ! " I said slowly. " Froment ! It is 
impossible ! " 

But even while I said it, I knew that I lied ; and I 
turned to the window that Benoit might not see my 
face. Froment ! The name alone, now that the hint 
was supplied, let in the light. Fellow-traveller, fellow- 
conspirator, in turn protected and protector, his face 
as I had seen it at the carriage door in the pass by 
Villeraugues, rose up before me, and I marvelled that 
I had not guessed the secret earlier. A bourgeois and 
ambitious, thrown into Mademoiselle's company, what 
could be more certain than that, sooner or later, he 
would lift his eyes to her ? What more likely than 
that Madame St. Alais, impoverished and embittered, 
afloat on the whirlpool of agitation, would be willing 
to reward his daring even with her daughter's hand ? 
Rich already, success would ennoble hira ; for the rest 
I knew how the man, strong where so many were 
weak, resolute where a hundred faltered, assured of 
his purpose and steadfast in pursuing it, where others 
knew none, must loom in a woman's eyes. And I 
gnashed my teeth. 

I had my eyes fixed, as I thought these thoughts, 
on a little dingy, well-like court that lay below his 
window, and on the farther side of which, but far 
below me, a monastic-looking porch surmounted by a 

RIVALS. 291 

carved figure, formed the centre of vision. Mechani- 
cally, though I could have sworn that my whole mind 
was otherwise engaged, I watched two men come into 
the court, and go to this porch. They did not knock 
or call, but one of them struck his stick twice on the 
pavement ; in a second or two the door opened, as of 
itself, and the men disappeared. 

I saw and noted this unconsciously ; yet, in all 
probability, it was the closing of the door roused me 
from my thoughts. " Froment ! " I said, " Froment ! " 
And then I turned from the window. " Where is 
she ? " I said hoarsely. 

Father Benoit shook his head. 

"You must know!" I cried — indeed I saw that he 
did. " You must know ! " 

" I do know," he answered slowly, his eyes on mine. 
" But I cannot tell you. I could not, were it to save 
your life, M. le Vicomte. I had it in confession." 

I stared at him baffled ; and my heart sank at that 
answer, as it would have sunk at no other. I knew 
that on this door, this iron door without a key, I 
might beat my hands and spend my fury until the end 
of time and go no farther. At length, " Then why — 
why have you told me so much?" I cried, with a 
harsh laugh. " Why tell me anything?" 

" Because I would have you leave Nimes," Father 
Benoit answered gently, laying his hand on my arm, 
his eyes full of entreaty. " Mademoiselle is contractcul, 
and beyond your reach. Within a few hours, (■crtainly 
as soon as the elections come on, tliere will be a lising 
here. I know you," he continued, " and your feelings, 
and I know that your syini)atliies will !)(! with neither 
party. Why stay tiion, M. lo Vicomte?" 

"Why?" I said, so quickly that his hand fell from 
my arm as if I had struck liiiu. " Jiccause until Made- 


moiselle is married I follow her, if it be to Turin ! 
Because M. Froment is unwise to mingle love and war, 
and my sympathies are now with one side, and it is not 
his! It is not his! Why, you ask? Because — you cannot 
tell me, but there are those who can, and I go to them ! " 

And without waiting to hear answer or remonstrance 
— though he cried to me and tried to detain me — I 
caught up my hat, and flew down the stairs ; and once 
out of the house and in the street hastened back at the 
top of my speed to the quarter of the town I had left. 
The streets through which I passed were still crowded, 
but wore an air not so much of disorder as of expecta- 
tion, as if the procession I had followed had left a trail 
behind it. Here and there I saw soldiers patrolling, 
and warning the people to be quiet ; and everywhere 
knots of townsmen, whispering and scowling, who 
stared at me as I passed. Every tenth male I saw was 
a monk, Dominican or Capuchin, and though my whole 
mind was bent on finding M. de Geol and Buton, and 
learning from them what they knew, as enemies, of 
Froment's plans and strength, I felt that the city was 
in an abnormal state ; and that if I would do anything 
before the convulsion took place, I must act quickly, 

I was fortunate enough to find M. de Geol and 
Buton at their lodgings. The former, whom I had 
not seen since our arrival, and who doubtless had his 
opinion of the cause of my sudden disappearance in 
the street, greeted me with a scowl and a bitter sar- 
casm, but when I had put a few questions, and he 
found that I was in earnest, his manner changed. 
" You may tell him," he said, nodding to Buton. 

Then I saw that they too were excited, though they 
would fain hide it. " What is it ? " I asked. 

" Froment's party rose at Avignon yesterday," he 
answered eagerly. "Prematurely; and were crushed 

RIVALS. 293 

— crushed with heavy loss. The news has just arrived. 
It may hasten his plans." 

" I saw soldiers in the street," I said. 

"Yes, the Calvinists have asked for protection. But, 
that, and the patrols," De Geol answered with a grim 
smile, " are equally a farce. The regiment of Guienne, 
which is patriotic and would assist us, and even be 
some protection, is kept within barracks by its officers ; 
the mayor and municipals are red, and whatever hap- 
pens will not hoist the flag or call out the troops. The 
Catholic cabarets are alive with armed men ; in a word, 
my friend, if Froment succeeds in mastering the town, 
and holding it three days, M. d'Artois, governor of 
Montpellier, will be here with his garrison, and — — " 


"And what was a riot will be a revolt," he said 
pithily. " But there is many a slip between the cup 
and the lip, and there are more than sheep in the 
Cevennes Mountains ! " 

Tlie words had scarcely passed from his lips, wlien a 
man ran into the room, looked at us, and raised his 
hand in a peculiar way. "Pardon me," said M. de 
Geol quickly ; and with a muttered word he followed 
the man out. liiiton was not a wlnl Inliind. In a 
nioment I was alone. 

I supposed they would return, and T waited impa- 
tiently ; but a minute or two passed, and tlH\v did not 
appear. At length, tired of waiting, and wondering 
what was afoot, 1 went int(^ the yard of the inn, and 
thence into the street. Still I did nol. Iind tlicni ; hut 
collected before the inn I found a grouj) of s(M-vants 
and others belonging to the place. They were all 
standing silent, listening, and as I joined them one 
looked round peevishly, and rais(;d his hand as a warn- 
ing to UK! U) he f|ui(;t. 


Before I could ask what it meant, the distant report 
of a gun, followed quickly by a second and a third, 
made my heart beat. A dull sound, made, it might be, 
by men shouting, or the passage of a heavy waggon over 
pavement, ensued ; then more firing, each report short, 
sharp, and decisive. While we listened, and as the 
last red glow of sunset faded on the eaves above us, 
leaving the street cold and grey, a bell somewhere 
began to toll hurriedly, stroke upon stroke; and a man, 
dashing round a corner not far away, made towards 

But the landlord of the Ecu did not wait for him. 
" All in ! " he cried to his people, " and close the great 
gates ! And do you, Pierre, bar the shutters. And 
you, Monsieur," he continued hurriedly, turning to me, 
" will do well to come in also. The town is up, and 
the streets will not be safe for strangers." 

But I was already half-way down the street. I met 
the fugitive, and he cried to me, as I passed, that the 
mob were coming. I met a frightened, riderless horse, 
galloping madly along the kennel ; it swerved from me, 
and almost fell on the slippery pavement. But I took 
no heed of either. I ran on until two hundred paces 
before me I saw smoke and dust, and dimly through it 
a row of soldiers, who, with their backs to me, were 
slowly giving way before a dense crowd that pressed 
upon them. Even as I came in sight of them, they 
seemed to break and melt away, and with a roar of 
triumph the mob swept over the place on which they 
had stood. 

I had the w'it to see that to force my way past the 
crowd was impossible ; and I darted aside into a 
narrow passage darkened by wide flat eaves that al- 
most hid the pale evening sky. This brought me to a 
lane, full of women, standing listening with scared 

RIVALS. 295 

faces. I hurried through them, and when I had gone, 
as I judged, far enough to outflank the mob, chose a 
lane that appeared to lead in the direction of Father 
Benoit's house. Fortunately, the crowd was engaged 
in the main streets, the byways were comparatively 
deserted, and without accident I reached the little 
square by the gate. 

Probably the attack on the soldiers had begun there, 
or in that neighbourhood, for a broken musket lay in 
two pieces on the pavement, and pale faces at upper 
windows followed me in a strange unwinking silence 
as I crossed the square. But no man was to be seen, 
and unmolested I reached the door of Father Benoit's 
staircase, and entered. 

In the open the light was still good, but within doors 
it was dusk, and I had not taken two steps before I 
tripped and fell headlong over some object that lay in 
my way. I struck the foot of the stairs heavily, and 
got up groaning ; but ceased to groan and held mj'^ 
breath, as peering through the half light of the entry, 
I saw over wliat 1 had fallen. It was a man's body. 

The man was a monk, in the black and white robe 
of his order ; and he was quite dead. It took me an 
instant to overcome the horror of the discovery, but 
that done, I saw easily enough how the corpse came 
to be there. Doubtless the man had been shot in the 
street at the beginning of the riot — perhaps h(> had 
been the first to attack the patrol ; and the body had 
been dragged into shelter here, while his party swept 
on to vengeance. 

I stooped and reverently adjusted the cowl which 
my foot had dragged awa)' ; and tliat done — it was 
no time for sentiment — I turned from him, and hurried 
up the stairs. Alas, when I readied Father Benoit's 
room it was empty. 


Wondering wliat I should do next, I stood a moment 
in the failing light. What could I do? Then I walked 
aimlessly to the casement and looked out. In the 
dull, almost hlind wall which met my eyes across 
the court, was one window on a level with that at 
which I stood, but a little to the side. On a sudden, 
as I stared stupidly at the wall near it, a bright light 
shone out in this window. A lamp had been kindled 
in the room ; and darkly outlined against the glow I 
saw the head and shoulders of a woman. 

I almost screamed a name. It was Denise ! 

Even while I held my breath she moved from the 
window, a curtain was drawn and all was dark. Only 
the plain lines of the window — and those fast fading 
in the gloom — remained ; only those and the gloomy, 
well-like court, that separated me from her. 

I leaned a moment on the sill, my heart bounding 
quickly, my thoughts working with inconceivable 
rapidity. She was there, in the house opposite ! It 
seemed too wonderful ; it seemed inexplicable. Then 
I reflected that the house stood next to the old gate 
I had seen from the street ; and had not some one 
told me that Froment lived in the Port d'Auguste? 

Doubtless this was it ; and she lay in his power in 
this house that adjoined it and was one with it. I 
leaned farther out, partly that I might cool my burning- 
face, partly to see more ; my eyes, greedil}^ scanning the 
front of the house, traced the line of arrow-slits that 
marked the ascent of the staircase. I followed the 
line downwards ; it ended beside the porch surmounted 
by a httle statue, at which I had seen the two men 

They were still fighting in the town. I could hear 
the dull sound of distant volleys, and the tolling of bells, 
and now and then a wave of noise, of screams and yells, 

RIVALS. 297 

that rose and sank on the evening air. But my ej^es 
were on the porch below ; and suddenly I had a 
thought. I followed the line of arrow-slits up again — 
it was too dark in the sombre court to see them well — 
and marked the position of the window at which Denise 
had appeared. Then I turned, and passijig through the 
room, I groped my way downstairs. 

I had no light, and 1 had to go carefully with one 
hand on the grimy wall ; but 1 knew now where the 
monk's body lay, and I stepped over it safely, and to 
the door, and putting out my head, looked up and 

Two men, as I did so, passed hurriedly through the 
little square, and, before reaching the gate, dived into 
an entry on the right, and disappeared. About the 
eaves of the highest house, that towered high and black 
above me, a faint ruddy light was beginning to dance. 
I heard voices, that came, I thought, from the tower of 
the gateway ; and there, too, I thought that I saw a 
figure outlined against the sky. J^ut otherwise, all was 
(piiet in tlie neiglibourhood ; and I went in again. 

No matter what I did in the tlarkness at the foot of 
the stairs; I hate to recall it. Jjut in a minute or two 
I came out a mojik in cowl and girdle. Then I, too, 
dived into the entry, and in a trice found myself in the 
court. Before me was the poich, and w ith the barrel 
of tli(! broken nuisket, wlnCli I had snatched uj) as I 
[jassed, 1 struck twice on the jnivement. 

I had no time to llnTdv what would liap|)(Mi n(^xt, or 
what 1 was going to confront. Tiu^ door opened 
instantly, and I went in ; as by m:igi<-, the door closed 
silently hehind me. 

I found myself in a long, bare hall or coii i(|((r, plaui 
and unfurnished, that had once perhaps been a cloister. 
A lighted lamp hung against a wall, and op[)osite me, 


on a stone seat sat two persons talking ; three or four 
others were walking up and down. All paused at my 
entrance, however, and looked at me eagerly. " Whence 
are you, hrother?" said one of them, advancing to 

" The Cabaret Vierge," I answered at a venture. The 
light dazzled me, and I raised my hand to ward it off. 

"For the Chief?" 

" Yes." 

"Come, quickly then," the man said, "he is on the 
roof. It goes well ? " he contniued, looking with a smile 
at my weapon. 

"It goes," I answered, holding my head low, so that 
my face was lost in the cowl. 

" They are beginning to light up, I am told ?" 


He took up a small lamp, and opening a door in a 
kind of buttress that strengthened one of the arches, 
he led the way through it, and up a narrow winding 
staircase made in the thickness of the wall. Presently 
we passed an open door, and I ticked it off in my mind. 
It led to the rooms on the first floor from the ground. 
Twenty steps higher we passed another door — closed 
this time. Again fifteen steps and we came to a third. 
That floor held my heart, and I looked round greedily, 
desperately, for some way of evading my guide and so 
reaching it. But I saw only the smooth stones of the 
wall ; and he continued to climb. 

I halted half a dozen steps higher. "What is it?" 
he asked, looking down at me. 

"I have dropped a note," I said; and I began to 
grope about the steps. 

"For the Chief?" 


" Here, take tlic light ! " he answered impatiently. 

RIVALS. 299 

" And be quick ! if your news is worth the telHng, it is 
worth telhng quickly. Sacre ! man, what have you 
done ? " 

I had let the lamp fall on the steps, extinguishing it ; 
and we were in darkness. In the moment of silence 
which followed, before he recovered from his surprise, 
I could hear the voices of men above us, and the tramp 
of their feet on the roof; and a cold draught of air met 
me. He swore another oath. " Get down, get down ! " 
he cried angrily, "and let me pass you! You are a 
pretty messenger to — there wait ; wait until I fetch 
another light." 

He squeezed by me, and left me standing in the very 
place I would have chosen, in the angle of the doorway 
we had just passed; before he had clattered down half 
a dozen steps I had my finger on the latch. To my 
joy the door — which might so easily have been locked — 
yielded to my knee, and passing through it, I closed it 
behind me. Then turning to the right — all was still 
dark — I groped my way along the wall through which 
I had entered. T know it to be the outside wall, and 
dimly in front 1 discerned the faint radiance of a 
window. Now that the moment had come to put all 
to the test I was as calm as I could wish to be. I 
counted ten paces, and came, as I expected, to the 
window ; ten paces farther and I felt my way barred 
by a door. This should be the room — the last that 
way ; listening intently for the first sounds of pursuit 
or alarm, I felt about for a latch, found it, and tried 
the door. Again fortune favoured me, it came to my 
liand ; but instead of light 1 found all dark as before ; 
and then understood, as I struck with some violence 
against a second do(;r. 

A stilled cry in a woman's voice came from bi-yond 
it : and some one asked siKU[)Iy, " Who is that? " 


I gave no answer, but searched for the latch, found 
it, and in a moment the door was opened. The hght 
wliich poured out dazzled me for a second or two ; but 
while I stood blinking, under tlie lamp I had a vision 
of two girls standing at bay, one behind the other, and 
the nearer was Denise ! 

I stepped towards her with a cry of joy ; she retreated 
with terror written on her face. " What do you 
want?" she stammered as she retreated. "You have 
made some mistake. We " 

Then I remembered the guise in which I stood, and 
the guTr-barrel in my hand, and I dashed back the 
cowl from my face ; and in a moment — ^it was of all 
surprises the most joyous, for I had not seen her since 
we sat opposite one another in the carriage, and then 
only a word- had passed betweeti us — in a moment she 
was in my arms, on my breast, and sobbing with her 
head hidden, and my lips on her hair. 

" They told me you were dead ! " she cried. " They 
told me 5 ou were dead ! " 

Then I understood ; and I held her to me, held her 
to me more and more closely, and said — God knows 
what I said. And for the moment she let me, and we 
forgot all else, our danger, the dark future, even the 
woman who stood by. We had been plighted before, 
and it had been nothing to us ; now, with my lips on 
hers, and her arms clinging, I knew that it was once 
for all, and that onl}^ death, if death, could part us. 

Alas ! that was not so far from us that we could long 
ignore it. In a minute or two she freed herself, and 
thrust me from her, her face pale and red by turns, 
her eyes soft and shining in the lamplight. " How do 
you come here, Monsieur?" she cried. "And in that 
dress ? " 

" To see you," I answered. And at the word, I 

RIVALS. 301 

stepped forward and would have taken her in my anus 

But she waved me back. "Oh, no, no!" she cried, 
shuddering. " Not now ! Do you know that they will 
kill you '? Do you know that they will kill you if they 
find you here? Go ! Go ! I beg of you, while you can." 

" And leave you? " 

"Yes, and leave me," she answered, with a gesture 
of despair. " I implore you to do so." 

" And leave you to Froment ? " I cried again. 

She looked at me in a different way, and witli a 
little start. " You know that ? " she said. 

"Yes," I answered. 

"Then know this too. Monsieur," she rej)lied, raising 
her head, and meeting my eyes with the bravest look. 
" Know this too : that whatever betide, I shall not, 
after this, marry him, nor any man but you ! " 

I would have fallen on my knees and kissed the hem 
of her gown for that word, but she drew back, and 
passionately begged me to begone. " This house is 
not safe for you," she said. " It is death, it is death, 
Monsieur ! My mother is merciless, my brother is 
here ; and he — the house is full of his sworn creatures. 
You escaped him hardly before ; if he finds you here 
now he will kill you." 

" But if I need fear him so," I answered grimly, — for 
I saw, now that she had ceased to IjIusIi, how pale and 
wan she was, and what darl\ imirks fear had painted 
under her eyes — child's eyes no longer, but a woman's 
— '* if I need fear him so, what of you? What of you, 
Mad(;nioiselle? Am J to leave you at his mercy?" 

Slic looked at me with a strange gravity in her face ; 
and answered me so that I never forgot her answer. 
" Monsieur," she said, " was 1 afraid on the roof of the 
house at St. Alais? And I li.ivc more to guard now. 


Have no fear. There is a roof here, too, and I walk 
on it ; nor shall my husband ever have cause to blush 
for me." 

" But I was there," I said quickly. Heaven knows 
why ; it was a strange thing to say. Yet she did not 
find it so. 

" Yes," she said — and smiled ; and with the smile, her 
face burned again and her eyes grew soft, and all her 
dignity fled in a moment, and she looked at me, droop- 
ing. And in an instant she was in my arms. 

But only for a few seconds. Then she tore herself 
away almost in anger. " Oh, go, go ! " she cried. " If 
you love me, go. Monsieur." 

" Swear," I said, " to put a handkerchief in your 
window if you want help ! " 

" In my window '? " 

" I can see it from Father Benoit's." 

A gleam of joy lit up her face. " I will," she said. 
" Oh, God be thanked that you are so near ! I will. 
But I have Franc^oise, too, and she is true to me. As 
long as I have her " 

She stopped with her lips apart, and the blood gone 
suddenly from her cheeks ; and we looked at one another. 
Alas, I had stayed too long ! There was a noise of feet 
coming along the passage, and a hubbub of voices out- 
side, and the clatter of a door hastily closed. I think 
for a moment we scarcely breathed ; and even after that 
it was her woman who was the ^rst to move. She 
sprang to the door and softly locked it. 

"It is vain !" Denise said in a harsh whisper; she 
leaned against the table, her face as white as snow. 
" They will fetch my mother, and they will kill you." 

" There is no other door ? " I muttered, staring round 
with hunted eyes, and feeling for the first time the full 
danger of the course I had taken. 

RIVALS. 303 

She shook her head. 

"What is that?" I cried, pointing to the farther end 
of the chamber, where a bed stood in the alcove. 

"A closet," the woman answered, almost with a sob. 
"Yes, yes, Monsieur, they may not search. Quick, and 
I can lock it." 

In such a case man acts on instinct. I heard the 
latch of the door tried, and then some one knocked 
peremptorily ; and so long I hesitated. But a second 
knock followed on the first, and a voice I knew cried 
imperatively: "Open, open, Fran9oise ! " and I moved 
towards the closet. The girl, distracted by the repeated 
summons and her terror, hung a moment between 
me and the door of the room ; but in the end had to 
go to the latter, so that I drew the closet door upon 

Then in a moment it came upon me that if, hiding 
there, I was found, I should shame Denise ; it darted 
through my brain that if, lurking there behind the 
closed doors among her woman's things, I was caught, 
I should harm her a hundred times more than if I 
stood out in the middle of the floor and faced the worst. 
And with my face on fire at the mere thought, I opened 
the door again, and stepped out ; and was just in time. 
For as the door of the room flew open, and M. de St. 
Alais strode in and looked round, I was the first person 
he saw. 

There were three or four men beliind liini ; and 
among them the man whom 1 liad cheated on tlie 
stairs. But M. St. Alais' eyes bla/ing with wrath 
caught mine, and held them ; and the otiiers were 
notliing to me. 




Yet he was not the first to speak. One of the men 
behind him took a step forward, and cried, "That is 
the man ! See, he still has the gun-barrel." 

"Seize him, then," M. de St. Alais replied. "And 
take him from here ! Monsieur," he continued, address- 
ing me grimly, and with a grim eye, " whoever you are, 
when you undertook to be a spy yon counted the cost, 
I suppose? Take him away, my men ! " 

Two of the fellows strode forward, and in a moment 
seized my arms ; and in the surprise of M. de St. Alais' 
appearance and the astonishment his words caused me, 
I made no resistance. But in such emergencies the 
mind works quickly, and in a trice I recovered myself. 
"This is nonsense, M. de St. Alais!" I said. "You 
know well that I am no spy. You know why I am here. 
And for the matter of that " 

" I know nothing ! " he answered. 

" But " 

"I know nothing, I say!" he repeated, with a mock- 
ing gesture. " Except, Monsieur, that we find you here 
in a monk's dress, when you are clearly no monk. 
You had better have tried to swim the Rhone at flood, 
than entered this house to-night — I tell you that ! 
Now away with him ! His case will be dealt with 

But this was too much. I wrested my hands from 


the men who held me, and sprang back. "You he!" 
I cried. " You know who I am, and why I am 
here ! " 

"I do not know you," he answered stubbornly. 
" Nor do I know why you are here. I once knew a 
man like you ; that is true. But he was a gentleman, 
and would have died before he would have saved himself 
by a lie— by a trumped-up tale. Take him away. He has 
frightened Mademoiselle to death. I suppose he found 
the door open, and slipped in, and thought himself 

At last I understood what he meant, and that in his 
passion he would sacrifice me rather than bring in his 
sister's name. Nay, I saw more ; that he viewed with 
a cruel exultation the dilemma in which he had placed 
me ; and my brow grew damp, as I looked round wildly, 
trying to solve the question. I had the sounds of street 
fighting still in my ears ; I knew that men staking all 
in such a strife owned few scruples and scant mercy. 
I could see that this man in particular was maddened 
by the losses and linmiliations wliich he had suffered; 
and I stood in the way of his schemes. The risk 
existed, therefore, and was no mere threat ; it seemed 
foolish quixotism to run it. 

And yet — and yet I hesitated. 1 even hi ihc men 
urge nie half-way to the door ; and then — heaven knows 
what I shoiiM li;ive done or whether I ((uild have seen 
my way plainly — the knot was cut for inc. Willi ii 
scream, Denise, who since her brother's entrance had 
leaned, half-fainting, against the wall, sprang forward, 
and seiz(;(l him by the arm. 

" No, no ! " she cried in a choked voice. " No ! You 
will not, you will not do this ! Have pity, h.ivc mercy : 
I •' 

"Mademoiselle! " he said, cutting her short qin'c.-tlv, 



but with a gleam of rage in his eyes. "You are over- 
wrought, and forget yourself. The scene has been too 
much for you. Here ! " he continued sharply to the 
maid, '' take care of your mistress. The man is a spy, 
and not worthy of her pity." 

But Denise clung to him. "He is no spy!" she 
cried, in a voice that went to my heart. " He is no spy, 
and you know it ! " 

"Hush, girl! Be. silent !" he answered furiously. 

But he had not counted on a change in her, beside 
which the change in him was petty. "I will not!" 
she answered, " I will not 1 " and to my astonishment, 
releasing the arm to which she had hitherto clung, and 
shaking back from her face the hair which her violent 
movements had loosened, she stood out and defied him. 
" I will not ! " she cried. " He is no spy, and you know 
it, Monsieur ! He is my lover," she continued, with a 
superb gesture, " and he came to see me. Do you 
understand? He was contracted to me, and he came 
to see me ! " 

"Girl, are you mad?" he snarled in the breathless 
hush of the room, the hi,sli that followed as all looked 
at her. 

"I am not mad," she answered, her eyes burning 
in her white face. 

" Then if you feel no shame do you feel no fear?" 
he retorted in a terrible voice. 

" No ! " she cried. " For I love ! And I love him." 

I will not say what I felt when 1 heard that, myself 
helpless. For one thing, I was in so great a rage I 
scarcely knew what I felt ; and for another, the words 
were barely spoken before M. le Marquis seized the 
girl roughly by the waist, and dragged her, screaming 
and resisting, to the other end of the room. 

This was the signal for a scene indescribable. I 


sprang forward to protect her ; in an instant the three 
men flung themselves upon me, and bore me by sheer 
weight towards the door. St. Alais, foaming with rage, 
shouted to them to remove me, while I called him 
coward, and cursed him and strove desperately to get 
at him. For a moment I made head against them all, 
though they were three to one ; the maid's screaming 
added to the uproar. Then the odds prevailed ; and in 
a minute they had me out, and had closed the door on 
her and her cries. 

I was panting, breathless, furious. But the moment 
it was done and the door shut, a kind of calm fell upon 
us. The men relaxed their hold on me, and stood 
looking at me quietly ; while I leaned against the 
wall, and glowered at them. Then, " There, Monsieur, 
have no more of that ! " one of them said civilly enough. 
"Go peaceably, and we will be easy with you; other- 
wise " 

" He is a cowardly hound ! " 1 cried with a sob. 

" Softly, Monsieur, softly." 

There were five of them, for two lnul icniaincd at 
the door. The passage was dark, but they had a lan- 
tern, and we waited in silence two or three minutes. 
Then the door opened a few inches, and tlie inmi wlio 
seemed to be the leader went to it, and having received 
his orders, returiKul. 

"Forward!" he said. "In Xo. (>. And do you, 
Totitot, fetch the key." 

The man named went off quickly, iind we followed 
more slowly along the cori'idor ; the steady tnonp of my 
guards, as they marched beside m(!, awaking sullen 
echoes that rolled away before us. The yellow light of 
the lantern showed a white-washed wall on either 
side, broken on the ligjit hand by a dull line of doors, 
as of cells. W'c JKikcd pi-csently heroic one of these, 


and I thought that I was to be confined there ; and my 
courage rose, for I should still be near Denise. But 
the door, when opened, disclosed only a little staircase 
which we descended in single file, and so reached a bare 
corridor similar to that above. Half-way along this 
we stopped again, beside an open window, through 
which the night wind came in so strongly as to stir the 
hair, and force the man who carried the lantern to 
shield the light under his skirts. And not the night 
wind only ; with it entered all the noises of the night 
and the disturbed city : hoarse cries and cheers, and 
the shrill monotonous jangle of bells, and now and then 
a pistol-shot — noises that told only too eloquently what 
was passing under the black veil that hid the chaos of 
streets and houses below us. Nay, in one place the 
veil was rent, and through the gap a ruddy column 
poured up from the roofs, dispersing sparks — the hot 
glare of some great fire, that blazing in the heart of 
the city, seemed to make the sky sharer in the deeds 
and horrors that lay beneath it. 

The men with me pressed to the window, and peered 
through it, and strained eyes and ears; and little wonder. 
Little wonder, too, that the man who was responsible 
for all, and had staked all, walked the roof above with 
tireless steps. For the struggle below was the one 
great struggle of the world, the struggle that never 
ceases between the old and the new : and it was being 
fought as it had been fought in Nimes for centuries, 
savagely, ruthlessly, over kennels running with blood. 
Nor could the issue be told ; only, that as it was here, 
it was likely to be through half of France. We who 
stood at that window, looked into the darkness with 
actual eyes ; but across the border at Turin, and nearer 
at Sommieres and Montpellier, thousands of French- 
men bearing the greatest names of France, watched 


also — watched with faces turned to Nimes, and hearts 
as anxious as ours. 

I gathered from the talk of those round nic, that M. 
Froment had seized the Arenes, and garrisoned it, and 
that the flames we saw were those of one of the Protes- 
tant churches ; that as yet the patriots, taken by sur- 
prise, made little resistance, and that if the Eeds could 
hold for twenty-four hours longer what they had seized, 
the arrival of the troops from Montpellier would then 
secure all, and at the same time stamp the movement 
with the approval of the highest parties. 

" But it was a near thing," one of the men muttered. 
" If we had not been at their throats to-night, they 
would have been at ours to-morrow ! " 

" And now, not half the companies have turned out." 
" But the villages will come in in the morning," a 
third cried eagerly. "They are to toll all the bells from 
here to the Rhone." 

"Ay, but what if the Cevennols come in fiist'.^ What 
then, man? " 

No one had an answer to this, and all stood watch- 
ing eagerly, until the sound of footsteps approaching 
along the passage caused tlie men to draw in their 
heads. "Here is the key," said the leader. "Now, 
Monsieur ! " 

But it was not the key that distuihcd us, nor Petitot, 
who had been sent for it, Ijut a very tall man, cluakcil, 
and wearing his hat, who came hastily along tlie cor- 
ridor with three or four biliind liim. As Ik; ap|)roached 
he called out, " Is Buzeaud licrc? " 

The man wlio had spol<(;n before stood ouL rti.spcct- 
fuUy. " Yes. Monsieur." 

"Take half a dozen men, tbt- stoutest you have 
downstairs," the new conier answered — it was l-'rouu-nt 
himself — "and got as many more from ilie Vierge, and 


barricade the street leading beside the barracks to the 
Arsenal. You will find plenty of helpers. And occupy 
some of tlie houses so as to command the street. And 
— But what is this?" he continued, breaking off sharply, 
as his eyes, passing over the group, stopped at me. 
"How does this gentlemen come here? And in this 

" M. le Marquis arrested him — upstairs." 

" M. le Marquis ? " 

"Yes, Monsieur, and ordered him to be confined in 
No. 6 for the present." 

" Ah ! " 

" As a spy." 

M. Froment whistled softly, and for a moment we 
looked at one another. The wavering light of the lan- 
terns, and perhaps the tension of the man's feelings, 
deepened the harsh lines of his massive features, and 
darkened the shadows about his eyes and mouth ; but 
presently he drew a deep breath, and smiled, as if 
something whimsical in the situation struck him. " So 
we meet again, M. le Vicomte," he said with that. "I 
remember now that I have something of j^ours. You 
have come for it, I suppose? " 

"Yes, Monsieur, I have come for it," I said defiantly, 
giving him back look for look ; and I saw that he 

"And M. le Marquis found you upstairs?" 


" Ah ! " For a.moment he seemed to reflect. Then, 
turning to the men. " AVell, you can go, Buzeaud. I 
will be answerable for this gentleman — who had better 
remove that masquerade. And do you," he continued, 
addressing the tw^o or three who had come with him, 
" wait for me above. Tell M. Flandrin — it is my last 
word — that whatever happens the Mayor must not 


raise the tiag lor the troops. He ma}' tell him what 
he pleases from me — that I will liani;- him from the 
highest window of the tower, if he likes — hut it must 
not be done. You understand ? " 

'Yes, Monsieur." 

" Then go. I will be with you presently." 

They went, leaving a lantern on the floor ; and in 
a moment Froment and I were alone. I stood expect- 
ant, but he did not look at me. Instead, he turned to 
the open window, and leaning on the sill, gazed into 
the night, and so remained for some time silent ; 
whether the orders he had just given had really diverted 
his thoughts into another channel, or he had not made 
up his mind how to treat me, I cannot determine. 
More than once I heard him sigh, however ; and at 
last he said abruptly, " Only three companies have 
risen .'' 

I do not know what moved me, hut I answered in 
the same spirit. " Out of how many ? " I said coolly. 

"Thirteen," he answered. "We are out-numbered. 
Hut we moved first, we have the upper hand, and we 
must keep it. .\nd if the villagers come in to-mor- 
row " 

" And the Cevennols do iKjt." 

" Y''es ; and if the oflicers can hold the (luienne 
regiment within barracks, and the Mayor does not 
hoist the Hag, calling tli( in out, ami the Calvinists do 
not surprise the Arsenal — i think we may be able to 
do so." 

" Hut the chances are ? " 

■• Against us. The mmc need, .Monsieur " for the 
first time lie turned and looked at me with a sort of 
(lark pride glowing in his face — "of a maul l''oi- — 
do you know wliat we an; fighting for down tiiere? 
Xi^raiice ! France I " he continued bitterly, and letting 


his emotion appear, "and I have a few Innidred cut- 
throats and rascals and shavehngjs to do the work, 
while all the time yon)' fine gentlemen lie safe and 
warm across the frontier, waiting to see what will 
happen ! And I run risks, and they hold the stakes ! 
I kill the bear, and they take the skin. They are safe, 
and if I fail I hang like Favras ! Faugh ! It is enough 
to make a man turn patriot and cry ' Vive la Nation ! ' " 

He did not wait for my answer, but impatiently 
snatching up the lantern, he made a sign to me to 
follow^ him, and led the way down the passage. He 
had said not a word of my presence in the house, of 
my position, of Mademoiselle St. Alais, or how he 
meant to deal with me ; and at the door, not knowing 
what was in his mind, I touched his shoulder and 
stopped him. 

" Pardon me," I said, with as much dignity as I 
could assume, " but I should like to know what you 
are going to do with me, Monsieur. I need not tell 
you that I did not enter this house as a spy " 

" You heed tell me nothing," he answered, cutting 
me short with rudeness. " And for what I am going 
to do with you, it can be told in half a dozen words. 
I am going to keep you by me, that if the worst comes 
of this — in w^hich event I am not likely to see the week 
out — you may protect Mademoiselle de St. Alais and 
convey her to a place of safety. To that end your 
commission shall be restored to you ; I have it safe. 
If, on the other hand, we hold our own, and light the 
fire that shall burn up these cold-blooded pedants la 
has, then, M. le Vicomte — I shall have a word to say 
to you. And we will talk of the matter as gentlemen." 

For a moment I stood dumb with astonishment. 
We were at the door of the little staircase — by which 
I had descended — when he said this ; and as he spoke 


the last word, he turned, as expecting no answer, and 
opened it, and set bis foot on the lowest stair, casting 
the light of the lantern before bim. I plucked him 
by the sleeve, and be turned, and faced me. 

" M. Froment ! " I muttered. And then for the life 
of me I could say no more. 

" There is no need for words," be said grandly. 

" Are you sure — that you know all ! " I muttered. 

"I am sure that she loves you, and that she does not 
love me," he answered with a curling lip and a ring of 
scorn in bis voice. "And besides that, I am sure of 
one thing only." 

" Yes ? " 

" That within forty-eight hours blood will flow in 
every street of Nimes, and Froment, the bourgeois, 
will be Froment le Baron — or nothing ! In the former 
case, we will talk. In the latter," and he shrugged his 
shoulders with a gesture a little theatrical, " it will not 

With the word he turned to the stairs, and I followed 
bim up them and across the upper corridor, and by the 
outer staircase, where I had evaded my guide, and so 
to the roof, and from it by a short wooden ladder to the 
leads of a tower ; whence we overlooked, lying below us, 
all the dim black chaos of Nimes, here rising in giant 
forms, rather felt than seen, there a medley of hot lights 
and deep shadows, thrown into relief by the glare of the 
burning church. In three places I picked out a cresset 
shining, high up in the sky, as it were; one on tlic liin 
of the Ari'iies, another on the roof of a distant chuich, 
a tiiird on a tower beyond tiie town. l)Ut for i\\v. most 
part the town was now at rest. Th;_! riot had died down, 
the bells were silent, the wind blew salt from the sea 
and cooled our faces. 

There were a dozen cloaked figures on the leads, some 

314 'i'lIE RED COCKADE. 

gazing down in silence, others walking to and fro, talk- 
ing together; but in the darkness it was iinjiossible 
to recognise any one. Froment, after receiving one or 
two reports, withdrew to the outer side of the tower 
overlooking the country, and walked there alone, his 
head bowed, and his hands behind him, a desire to pre- 
serve his dignity having niore to do with this, or I was 
mistaken, than any longing for solitude. Still, the 
others respected his wishes, and following their example 
I seated myself in an embrasure of the battlements, 
whence the fire, now growing pale, could be seen. 

What were the others' thoughts I cannot say. A 
muttered word apprised me that Louis St. Alais was 
in command at the Arenes ; and that M. le Marquis 
waited only until success was assured to start for 
Sommieres, whence the coiumandant had promised a 
regiment of horse should Froment be able to hold his 
own without them. The arrangement seemed to me 
to be of the strangest ; but the Emigres, fearful of 
compromising the King, and warned by the fate of 
Favras — who, deserted by his party, had suffered for a 
similar conspirac}^ a few months before — were nothing 
if not timid. And if those round me felt any indigna- 
tion, they did not express it. 

The majority, however, were silent, or spoke only 
when some movement in the town, some outcry or 
alarm, drew from them a few eager words ; and for 
myself, my thoughts were neither of the struggle below 
— where both parties lay watching each other and wait- 
ing for the day— nor of the morrow, nor even of Denise, 
but of Froment himself. If the aim of the man had 
been to impress me, he had succeeded. Seated there 
in the darkness, I felt his influence strong upon me ; I 
felt the crisis as and because he felt it. T thrilled with 
the excitement oi the gambler's last stake, because he 


had thrown the dice. I stood on the giddy point on 
which he stood, and looked into the dark future, and 
trembled for and witli liini. My eyes turned from 
others, and invokmtarily sought his tall figure where 
he walked alone ; with as little will on my part I paid 
him the homage due to the man who stands unmoved 
on the brink, master of his soul, though death yawns 
for him. 

About midnight there was a general movement to 
descend. I had eaten nothing for twelve hours, and I 
had d(;ne much ; and, notwithstanding the dubious 
position in which I stood, appetite bade me go with the 
rest. I went, therefore ; and, following the stream, 
found myself a minute later on the threshold of a long 
room, brilliantly lit with lamps, and displaying tables 
laid with covers for sixty or more. I fancied that at 
the farther end of the apartment, and through an 
interval in tlic o'owd of men before me, I caught a 
glimpse of wcjincn. of jewels, of flashing eyes, and a 
waving fan ; and if anytliing could have added to the 
bewildering abruptness of the change from the dark, 
wind-swept leads above to th(> gay and splendid scene 
before me it was this. LluL i had scant time for re- 
Hcction. Tliough I did not advance far, the press, 
which separated me from the upper end of tlu; room, 
melted quickly, as one after anotliei' look his seat amid 
a hinn of conversation; and in ;i nmnK'Ht I Iniind 
myself gazing straight at hcnisr, who, white and 
wan, with a ))itiful lool< in \\r.r eyes, sat besidt; her 
mother at tiie ui)i)crmost tabh-, a ]iicture of sihnit woe. 
Madame CatiiK^t and two or tln(!(! gentlemen and as 
many ladies were seated with them. 

Wliether my eyes dnw hers to me, or she ghuK-cd 
that way by chance, in a ni<iniriit she Inil^cd at me, 
and rose tf) her feet witli a l<jw gasj)ing cry, that I \'<\\ 



rather than heard. It was enough to lead Madame St. 
Alais' eyes to me, and she too cried out ; and in a trice, 
while a few between ns still talked unconscious, and 
the servants glided about, I found all at that farther 
table staring at me, and myself the focus of the room. 
Just then, unluckily, M, St. Alais, rather late, came in ; 
of course, he too saw me. I heard an oath behind 
me, but I was intent on the farther table and Mademoi- 
selle, and it was not until he laid his hand on my arm 
that I turned sharply and saw him. 

" Monsieur ! " he cried, with another oath — ^and I saw 
that he was almost choking with rage — with rage and 
surprise. " This is too much." 

I looked at him in silence. The position was so per- 
plexing that I could not grasp it. 

" How do I find you here ? " he continued with violence 
and in a voice that drew every eye in the room to me. 
He was white with anger. He had left me a prisoner, 
he found me a guest. 

" I hardly know myself," I answered. " But " 

" I do," said a voice behind M. St. Alais. " If you 
wish to know, Marquis, M. de Saux is here at my 

The speaker was Froment, who had just entered the 
room. St. Alais turned, as if he had been stabbed. 
" Then I am not ! " he cried. 

" That is as you please," Froment said steadfastly. 

" It is — and I do not please ! " the Marquis retorted, 
with a scornful glance, and in a tone that rang through 
the room. "I do not please ! " 

As I heard him, and felt myself the centre, under the 
lights, of all those eyes, I could have fancied that I was 
again in the St. Alais' salon, listening to the futile oath 
of the sword ; and that three-quarters of a year had not 
elapsed since that beginning of all our troubles. But 


in a momeut Froment's voice roused me from the 

"Very well," he said gravely. "But I think that you 
forget "' 

"It is you who forget," St. Alais cried wildly. 
" Or you do not understand — or know — that this 
gentleman " 

"I forget nothing! " Froment replied with a darken- 
ing face. " Nothing, except that we are keeping my 
guests waiting. Least of all, do I forget the aid. Mon- 
sieur, which you have hitherto rendered me. But, M. 
le Marquis," he continued, with dignity, " it is mine to 
command to-night, and it is for me to make dispositions. 
I have made them, and I must ask you to comply with 
them. I know that you will not fail me at a pinch. 
I know, and these gentlemen know, that in misfortune 
you would be my helper; but I believe also that, all 
going well, as it does, you will not throw unnecessary 
obstacles in my way. Come, Monsieur ; this gentleman 
will not refuse to sit here. And we will sit at Madame's 
table. Oblige me." 

M, St. Alais' face was like night, but the other was a 
man, and his tone was strenuous as well as courteous ; 
and slowly and hauiihtily M. le Marquis, who, T lltiiik, 
had never before in his life given way, followed iuiii lo 
the farther end of the room. Left alone, I sat down 
where I was, eyed curiously by those round me; and 
myself, finding something still more curious in iliis 
strange banquet while Ninies watched ; this midnigiit 
merriment, while the dead still lay in the streets, and 
the air quivered, and all the world of night hung, listen- 
ing for that whicli was to conic 




When the grey dawn, to which so many looked 
forward, broke slowly over the waking city, it found on 
the leads of Froment's tower some pale faces ; perhaps 
some sinking hearts. That hour, when all life lacks 
colour, and all things, the sky excepted, are black to 
the eye, tries a man's courage to the uttermost ; as the 
cold wind that blows with it searches his body. Eyes 
that an hour before had sparkled over the wine— for 
we had sat late and drunk to the King, the Church, the 
Red Cockade, and M. d'Artois— grew thoughtful ; men 
who, a httle before, had shown flushed faces, shivered 
as they peered into the mist, and drew their cloaks 
more closely round them ; and if the man was there, 
who regarded the issue of the day with perfect indif- 
ference, he was not of those near me. 

Froment had preached faith, but the faith for the 
most part was down in the street. There, I have no 
doubt, were many who believed, and were ready to rush 
on death, or slay without pity. And there may have 
been one or two of these with us. But in the main, 
the men who looked down with me on Niraes that 
morning were hardy adventurers, or local followers of 
Froment, or officers whose regiments had dismissed 
them, or— but these were few — gentlemen, like St. 
Alais. All brave men, and some heated with wine ; 
but not Froment only had heard of Favras hanged, of 


De Laiuiay massacred, of Provost Flesselles shot in cold 
blood ! Others beside him could make a guess at the 
kind of vengeance this strange new creature, La Nation, 
might take, being outraged : and so, when the long- 
expected dawn appeared at last, and warmed the eastern 
clouds, and leaping across the sea of mist which filled 
the Khone valley, tinged the western peaks with rosy 
light, and found us watching, I saw no face among all 
the light fell on, that was not serious, not one but had 
some haggard, wan, or careworn touch to mark it 

Save only Froment's. He, be the reason what it 
mio^ht, showed as the light rose a countenance not 
merely resolute, but cheerful. Abandoning the solitary 
habit he had maintained all night, he came forward to 
the battlements overlooking the town, and talked and 
even jested, rallying the faint-hearted, and taking 
success for granted. 1 have heard his enemies say 
that he did this because it was his nature, because he 
could not helj) it ; because his vanity raised him, not 
only above the ordinary passions of men, but above 
fear ; because in the conceit of acting iiis part to the 
admiration of all, he forgot that it was more than a 
fiart, and tried all fortunes and ran all risks with as 
littUi emotion as the actor who portrays the Cid, or 
takes poison in the part of Mithridates. 

]5ut this seems to me to amount to no more tlian 
Haying that he was not only a very vain, but a very 
Ijrave man. Which I ndnul. No one, indeed, wlio 
Haw him that morning could dMiihl it ; or lliai, of a 
million, he was the man Ixist (itted to coniniaiid in 
Hucii an emergency; resolute, undoubtiiig. even gay, 
he n;vers(rd no orders, expressed no fcuirs. When the 
mist rolled away — a littU; after four — and let the 
smiling plain be seen, and the city and the hills, and 



when from the direction of the Rhone the first harsh 
jan<];le of bells smote the ear and stilled the lark's song, 
he turned to his followinoj with an air almost joyous. 

" Come, gentlemen," he said gaily, and with head 
erect. " Let us be stirring ! They must not say that 
we lie close and fear to show our heads abroad ; or, 
having set others moving, are backward ourselves — 
like the tonguesters and dreamers of their knavish 
assembh^ who, when they would take their King, set 
women in the front rank to take the danger also ! 
Allans, Messieurs ! They brought him from Versailles 
to Paris. We will escort him back ! And to-day we 
take the first step ! " 

Enthusiasm is of all things the most contagious. A 
murmur of assent greeted his words ; eyes that a mo- 
ment before had been dull enough, grew bright. ''A 
has les TraUres !'"' cried one. "A has le Tricolor/" 
cried another. 

Froment raised his hand for silence. "No, Mon- 
sieur," he said quickly, "On the contrary, we will 
have a tricolour of our own. Vive le Boi ! Vive la 
Foi ! Vive la Loi ! Vivent les Trois ! " 

The conceit took. A hundred voices shouted, " Vivent 
les Trois /" in chorus. The words were taken up on 
lower roofs and at windows, and in the streets below ; 
until they passed noisily away, after the manner of file- 
firing, into the distance. 

Froment raised his hat gallantly. " Thank you, 
gentlemen," he said. " In the King's name, in his 
Majesty's name, I thank you. Before we have done, 
the Atlantic shall hear that cry, and La Manche re- 
echo it ! And the Rhone shall release what the Seine 
has taken ! To Nimes and to you, all France looks this 
day. For freedom ! For freedom to live — shall knaves 
and scriveners strangle her? For freedom to pray — 


they rob God, and defile His temples ! For freedom 
to walk abroad — the King of France is a captive. 
Need I say more ? " 

"No! Xo ! " they cried, waving hats and swords. 
" No ! No ! " 

"Then I will not," he answered hardily. "I will 
use no more words ! But I will show that here at 
least, at Nimes at least, God and the King are honoured, 
and their servants are free ! Give me your escort, 
gentlemen, and we will walk through the town and 
visit the King's posts, and see if any here dare cry, ' A 
bus le Ruif" 

They answered with a roar of asstsnt and menace 
that shook the very tower ; and instantly trooping to 
the ladder, began to descend by it to the roof of the 
house, and so to the staircase. Sitting on the battle- 
ments (){ the tower, I watched them pass in a long 
stream across the leads below, their hilts and buckles 
glittering in the sunshine, their ril)l)()iis waving in the 
breeze, theii- voices sharp and higli. 1 tlujught them, 
as I watched, a gallant company ; the greater part were 
young, and all had a fine air; not without sympathy 1 
.saw them vanish one by one in the head of the stair- 
case, by which I had ascended. One liaH" had dis- 
a[)peared when 1 felt a touch on my arm, and foiiiid 
Froment, the last to leave, standing by my side. 

" Ytni will stay here, Monsieur," he said, in an 
undertone of meaning, his eyes lowered to meet nnnr ; 
" if th<! worst liappens, I need not charge you to look to 

"Worst or best, I will look to iier," 1 answered. 

•• Tliaiiks," he said, his li[) curling, and an ugly light 
for an instant flashing in his eytjs. " P>ut in the latter 
case I will look to lier myself. Don't forget, that if I 

win, we liave still to talk, ^fonsieur ! " 

2 1 


" Yet, God grant you may win ! " I exclaimed 

"You have faith in your swordsmanship?" he 
answered, with a slight sneer ; and then, in a different 
tone, he went on : " No, Monsieur, it is not that. It 
is that you are a French gentleman. And as such I 
leave Mademoiselle to your care without a qualm. 
God keep you ! " 

" And you," I said. And I saw him go after the 

It was then about five o'clock. The sun was up, 
and the tower-roof, left silent and in my sole possession, 
seemed so near the sky, seemed so bright and peaceful 
and still, with the stillness of the early morning which 
is akin to innocence, that I looked about me dazed. 
I stood on a different plane from that of the world be- 
low, whence the roar of greeting that hailed Froment's 
appearance came up harshly. Another shout followed 
and another, that drove the affrighted pigeons in a 
circling cloud high above the roofs ; and then the wave 
of sound began to roll away, moving with an in- 
describable note of menace southward through the 
city. And I remained alone on my tower, raised high 
above the strife. 

Alone, with time to think ; and to think some grim 
thoughts. Where now was the sweet union of which 
half the nation had been dreaming for weeks ? Where 
the millennium of peace and fraternity to which Father 
Benuit, and the Syndics of Giron and Vlais, had looked 
forward? And the abolition of divisions? And the 
rights of man ? And the other ten thousand blessings 
that philosophers and theorists had undertaken to 
create — the nature of man notwithstanding — their 
systems once adopted ? Ay, where ? From all the 
smiling country round came, for answer, the clanging 



of importunate bells. From the streets below rose for 
answer the sounds of riot and triumph. Along this or 
that road, winding ribbon-like across the plain, hurried 
little flocks of men — now seen for the tirst time — with 
glittering arms ; and last and worst — when some half- 
hour had elapsed, and I still watched — from a distant 
suburb westward boomed out a sudden volley, and then 
dropping shots. The pigeons still wheeled, in a 
shining, shifting cloud, above the roofs, and the 
sparrows twittered round me, and on the tower, and 
on the roof below, where a few domestics clustered, all 
was sunshine and quiet and peace. But down in the 
streets, there, I knew that death was at w^ork. 

Still, for a time, I felt little excitement. It was 
early in the day ; I expected no immediate issue ; and 
T listened almost carelessly, following the train of 
th(jught I have traced, and gloomily comparing this 
scene of strife with the brilliant promises of a few 
months before. 13ut little by little the anxiety of the 
servants who stood on the roof below, infected me. I 
began to listen more acutely ; and to fancy that the 
tide of conflict was rolling nearer, that the cries and 
shots came more quickly and sharply to the ear. At 
last, in a place near the barracks, and not far ofl", 1 dis- 
tinguished little puffs of thin white smoke rising above 
tli(^ loofs, and twice a rattling volley in the same (luartcr 
shook th(! windfAvs. Then in one of the streets mnnedi- 
ately below me, the whole length of which was visible, 
I saw people nnining — running towards me, 

I called to the servants to know what it was. 

"They are attacking the arsenal, Monsieur," one 
answered, shading his eyes. 

" Who?" I said. 

jjiit 1h! only slntiggcMJ his shoulders mid looked out 
nioni int(!ntly. 1 followed his example, but foi a Lnnc; 


nothing happened; then un a sudden, as if a door were 
opened that hitherto had shut off the noise, a babel of 
shouts burst out and a great crowd entered the nearer 
end of the street below nie, and pouring along it with loud 
cries and brandished arms — and a crucifix and a little 
body of monks in the middle — swirled away round the 
farthest corner, and wei'e gone. For some time, however, 
I could still hear the burthen of their cries, and trace it 
towards the barracks, whence the crackle of musketry 
came at intervals ; and I concluded that it was a rein- 
forcement, and that Froment had sent for it. After 
that, chancing to look down, I saw that half the servants, 
below me, had vanished, and that figures were begin- 
ning to skulk about the streets hitherto deserted ; and 
I began to tremble. The crisis had come sooner than 
I had thought. 

I called to one of the men and asked him where the 
ladies were. 

He looked up at me with a pale face. " I don"t know, 
Monsieur," he answered rapidly ; and he looked away 

"They are below?" 

But he was watching too intently to answer, and only 
shook his head impatiently. I was unwilling to leave 
my place on the roof, and I called to him to take my 
compliments to Madame St. Alais and ask her to as- 
cend. It seemed strange that she had not done so, for 
women are not generally lacking in the desire to see. 

But the man was too frightened to think of any one 
hilt himself — I fancy he was one of the cooks — and he 
did not move ; while his companions only cried : " Pre- 
sently, presently, Monsieur ! " 

At that, however, I lost my temper ; and, going to 
the ladder, I ran down it, and strode towards tliem, 
" You rascals ! " I cried. " Where are the ladies ? " 


One or two turned to me with a start. " Pardon, 
Monsieur? " 

" Where are the ladies ? " I repeated impatiently. 

"All ! 1 did not understand ! " the nearest answered 
ojlibly. " Gone to the church to pray, Monsieur." 

"To the church?" 

" To be sure. By the Capuchins." 

" And they are not here ? " 

"No, Monsieur," he answered, his eyes strayinof. 
" But— what is that ? " 

And, diverted by something, he skipped nimbly from 
me, his cheek a shade paler. I followed him to the 
parapet, and looked over. The view was not so wide 
as from the tower above, but the main street leading 
southward could be seen, and it was full of people ; of 
scattered groups and handfuls, all coming towards us, 
some running, at an easy pace, while others walked 
quickly, four or five abreast, and often looked behind 

The servants never doubted what it meant. In a 
trice the group broke u]i. With a muttered, " We are 
beaten ! " they ran pcll-m(;ll across the sunny leads to 
tlie head of the staircase, and began to descend. I 
waited awhile, looking and fearing; but the stream of 
fugitives ever continued and increas(Hl, tlu> pace grew 
<|uick(!i', the last comers looked more fn^quently Ixiliind 
thi'in and handled theii- arms; the din df conflict, of 
yells, and cries, and shots, seemed \n be iipproaching ; 
iind in a nionicnt I ni;i(l<' ii|) inv nniid to act. 'I'lic 
staircase was clear now ; 1 laii (|iM(kly down it as 
far as tlu; door on tlic upper floor, by whicli I bad 
fntorcd tli(< lK)Use that (ivening befi'ic. I tried this, 
but rcc<jiled ; tlu; door was locked. Willi ,1 cry of 
ve.xation, my haste growing feverish — for now, in tbe 
darkness of the staircase, I was in ignf)rance what was 


happening, and pictured the worst — I went on, descend- 
ing round and round, until 1 reached the cloister-hke 
hall, at the bottom. 

I found this choked with men, armed, grim-faced, 
and furious ; and beset by other men who still continued 
to pour in from the street. A moment later and I 
should have found the staircase stopped by the stream 
of people ascending ; and I must have remained on the 
roof. As it was, I could not for a minute or two force 
myself through the press, but was thrust against a 
wall, and pinned there by the rash inwards. Next me, 
however, I found one of the servants in like case, and 
I seized him by the sleeve. " Where are the ladies? " 
I said. " Have they returned ? Are they here ? " 

" I don't know," he said, his eyes roving. 

" Are they still at the church ? " 

" Monsieur, I don't know," he answered im- 
patiently ; and then seeing, I think, the man for 
whom he was searching, he shook me off, with the 
churlishness of fear, and, flinging himself into the 
crowd, was gone. 

All the place was such a hurly-burly of men entering 
and leaving, shouting orders, or forcing themselves 
through the press, that I doubted what to do. Some 
were crying for Froment, others to close the doors ; 
one that all was lost, another to bring up the powder. 
The disorder was enough to turn the brain, and for a 
minute I stood in the heart of it, elbowed and pushed, 
and tossed this way and that. Where were the women? 
Where were the women? The doubt distracted me. 
I seized half a dozen of the nearest men, and asked 
them ; but they only cried out fiercely that they did not 
know — how should they ? — and shook me off savagely 
and escaped as the servant had. For all here, with a 
few exceptions, were of the commoner sort. I could 


see nothing of Froment, nothing of St. Alais or the 
leaders, and only one or two of the gallants who had 
gone with them. 

I do not think that I was ever in a more trying posi- 
tion. Denise might be still at the church and in peril 
there ; or she might be in the streets exposed to dangers 
on which I dare not dwell ; or, on the other hand, she 
might be safe in the next room, or upstairs ; or on the 
roof. Ill the unutterable confusion, it was impossible 
to know or learn, or even move quickly ; my only hope 
seemed to be in Froment's return, but after waiting a 
minute, which seemed a lifetime, in the hope of seeing 
him, I lost patience and battled my way through the 
press to a door, which appeared to lead to the main 
part of the house. 

Passing through it, I found the same disorder ruling ; 
here men, bringing up powder from the cellars, blocked 
the passage; there others appeared to be rifling the 
house. I had little hope of finding those whom I sought 
Ijelow stairs ; and after glancing this way and that with- 
out result, I lighted on a staircase, and ascending quickly 
to the second floor, hastened to Denise's room. The 
door was locked. 

I hammered on it madly and called, and waited, and 
listened, and called again ; l)iit T heard no sound from 
within ; convinced at last I left it and tried the near- 
est doors. The two first were locked also, and the 
rooms as silent; the third and fourtli were opon mikI 
f-mpty. The l:i.-.L I entered was a man's. 

Th(! task v/as no long one, and f)ccupied less than a 
minut<!. But all tlie time, while I rajipod and listened 
and called, though the corridoi" in which 1 moved 
was quiet as death and echoed my footsteps, the house 
below rang with cries and shouts and lnn-rying feet : 
and I was in a fever. ^ladame might be on thr* roof. 


I turned that way meaning to ascend. Then T reflected 
that if I chnibed to it T might find the staircase blocked 
when T came to descend 'again ; and, cursing my folly 
for leaving the hall — simply because my quest had failed 
— I hurried back to the stairs, and dashed recklessly 
down them, and, stemming as well as I could the tide 
of people that surged and ebbed about the lower floor, 
I fought my way back to the hall. 

I was just in time. As I entered by one door 
Froment entered by the other, with a little band of his 
braves ; of whom several, I now observed, wore green 
ribbons — the Artois colours. His great stature raising 
hira above the crowd of heads, I saw that he was 
wounded ; a little blood was running down his cheek, 
and his eyes shone with a brilliance almost of madness. 
But he was still cool ; he had still so much the com- 
mand, not only of himself, but of those round him, that 
the commotion grew still and abated under his eye. In 
a moment men who before had only tumbled over and 
embarrassed one another, flew to their places ; and, 
though the howling of a hostile mob could plainly be 
heard at the end of the street, and it was clear that he 
had fallen back before an overwhelming force, resolu- 
tion seemed in a moment to take the place of panic, 
and hope of despair. 

Standing on the threshold, and pointing this way, 
and that, with a discharged pistol which he held in his 
hand, he gave a few short, sharp orders for the barricad- 
ing of the door, and saw them carried out, and sent this 
man to one post, and that man to another. Then, the 
crowd, which had before cumbered the place, melting 
as if by magic, he saw me forcing my way to him. And 
he beckoned to me. 

If he played a part, then let me say, once for all, he 
played it nobly. Even now, when I guessed that all 


was lost, I read no fear and no envy in his face ; and in 
what he said there was no ostentation. 

"Get out quickly," he muttered, in an undertone, 
forestalling by a hasty gesture the excited questions I 
had on my lips, "through yonder door, and by the 
little postern at the foot of the other staircase. Go by 
the east gate, and you will find horses at the St. Gene- 
vieve outside. It is all over here ! " he added, wringing 
my hand hard, and pushing me towards the door. 

"But Mademoiselle ?" I cried ; and I told him that 
she was not in the house. 

"What?" he said, pausing and looking at me, with 
his face grown suddenl}^ dark. "Are j^ou mad? Do 
you mean that she has gone out ? " 

" She is not here," I answered. " I am told that she 
went to the church with Madame St. Alais, and has not 

"That beldam 1" he exclaimed, with a terrible oath, 
and then, "God help them!" he said — twice. And 
after a moujent of silence, meeting my eyes and read- 
ing the horror in them, he laughed harslily. " After all, 
what matter? "he said recklessly. "Wo shall all go 
together 1 Let us go like gentlemen. 1 did wliat I 
could. Do you hear that?" 

Pie held up his hand, as a roar of musketry shook the 
house; and be gave an order. The small windows liml 
been stojjpcd with [)aving stones, the dom made solid 
witli th(! wall behind it ; and daylight being shut out. 
lamps had been hgbted, wliich gave tlu; long wliite- 
wasbed, stone-groined room a strange sombre look. Or 
it was tlif grim faces I saw round uw. bad tliat cfTc*-!. 

"1 am afraid that tiic St. Alais arc cut oil in ibc 
Arenas," he said coolly. "And they are not (inougb to 
man the walls. Those cursed Cevennols have been too 
many for us. As for onv friends — it is as 1 expect<'d ; 


they have left me to die hke a Inill in the ring. Well, 
we must die goring." 

But in the midst of my admiration of his courage a 
kind of revulsion seized me. " And Denise ? " I said, 
grasping his arm fiercely. " Are we to leave her to 
perish ?'" 

He looked at me, his lip curling. " True," he said, 
with a sneering smile. " I forgot. You are not of us." 

" I am thinking of her ! " I cried, raging. And in that 
moment I hated him. 

But his mood changed while he looked at me. " You 
are right, Monsieur," he said, in a different tone. " Go ! 
There may be a chance ; but the church is by the 
Capuchins, and those dogs were baying round it when 
we fell back. They are ten to one, or — still there may 
be a chance," he continued with decision. " Go, and if 
you find her, and escape, do not forget Froment of 

" By the postern ? " I said. 

"Yes — take this," he answered; and abruptly draw- 
ing a pistol from his pocket, he forced it on me. " Go, 
and I must go too. Good fortune, Monsieur, and fare- 
well. And 3'Ou, bark away, you dogs!" he continued 
bitterly, addressing the unconscious mob. " The bull is 
on foot yet, and will toss some of you before the ring 
closes ! " 




With that word he thrust mo towards the door that 
led to the inner hall and the postern ; and, knowing, as 
I did, that every moment I delaj^ed might stand for a 
life, and that within a minute or two at most the rear 
of the building would be beset, and my chance of egress 
lost, it was to be expected that I should not hesitate. 

Yet I did. The main body of Froment's followers 
had flocked upstairs, whence they could be heard firing 
from the roof and windows. He stood almost alone in 
the iniddle of the floor ; in the attitude of one listening 
and thinking, while a group of green ribbons, who 
seemed to be the most determined of his followers, 
hung growling about the barricaded door. Something 
HI the gloomy brightness of the room, and the disorder 
of thf! banicaded windows, something in the loneliness 
of his figure as he stood there, appealed to me ; 1 even 
took one step towards liim. I)iit at that monu nt lie 
looked up, his face grown dark ; and he waved me otV 
with a gesture almost of rage. I knew then that I had 
but a small ))art of his thoughts; and that at this moment, 
while the edifice he had built up with so much care. a:i(l 
so much risk was crumbling about him, h(t was thinking 
not of us, but of those who had pronnscd and failc.'d him : 
who had given good words, and l(!fl iiiiii to p(>rish. 
And I went. 

Yet even for that moment of dflay it seemed ihal I 



might pay too dearly. A dozen steps brought me to 
the low-browed door he had indicated, in the thickness 
of the wall at the foot of the main staircase. But 
already a man was adjusting the last bar. I cried to 
him to open. " Open ! 1 must go out ! " I cried. 
" Dim ! It is too late ! " he said, with a dark glance at 


My heart sank ; T feared he was right. Still he began 
to uiil)ai\ though grudgingly, and in half a minute we 
liad the door loose. With a pistol in his hand, he 
opened it on the chain and looked out. It opened on a 
narrow passage — which, God be thanked, was still 
empty. He dropped the chain, and almost thrust me 
out, cried, " To the left !" and then, as dazzled by the 
sunlight I turned that way, I heard the door slam be- 
hind me and the chain rattle as it was Hnked again. 

The houses that rose on each side somewhat dead- 
ened the noise of the mob and the firing ; but as I hurried 
down the alley, bareheaded and with the pistol which 
Froment had given me firmly clutched in my hand, I 
heard a fresh spirt of noise behind me, and knew that 
the assailants had entered the passage by the farther 
end ; and that had I waited a moment longer I should 
have been too late. 

As it was, my position was sufficiently forlorn, if it 
was not hopeless. Alone and a stranger, without hat 
or badge, knowing httle of the streets, I might blunder 
at any corner into the arms of one of the parties — and 
be massacred. I had a notion that the church of the 
Capuchins was that which I had visited near Madame 
Catmot's ; and my first thought was to gain the main 
street leading in that direction. This was not so easy, 
however ; the alley in which T found myself led only 
into a second passage equally strait and gloomy. 
Entering this, I turned after a moment's hesitation to 


the left, but before I had gone a dozen paces I heard 
shouting in front of uie ; and I halted and retraced my 
steps. Hurrying in the other direction, I found myself 
in a minute in a little gloomy well-like court, with no 
second outlet that I could see, where I stood a moment 
panting and at a loss, rendered fi'antic and almost 
desperate by the thought that, while I hovered there 
uncertain, the die might be cast, and those whom [ 
sought perish for lack of my aid. 

I was about to return, resolved to face at all risks the 
part}^ of rioters whom I heard behind me, when an open 
window in the lowest floor of one of the houses that 
stood round the court caught my eye. Tt was not far 
from the ground, and to see was to determine ; ' the 
house must have an outlet on the street. In a dozen 
strides T crossed the court, and resting one hand 
(jn the sill of the window, vaulted into the loom, 
alighted sideways on a stool, and fell heavily to the 

I was up in a moment unhurt, but with a woman's 
scream ringing in my ears, and a woman, a girl, cower- 
ing from me, white-faced, her back to the door. She 
had been kneeling, praying probably, by the bed ; and 
I had almost fallen on i)er. When I looked slu; 
screamed again; 1 called to hei' in lieavtii's name to be 

"The docn-: Only the door!" 1 cried. "Show it 
me. I will huiL no one." 

•' Who are you?" she muttered. And still shiinking 
from me, she stared at nu; with distended eytis. 

" Mon Dieu ! What does it matter?" I answered 
fiercely. " 'I'he door, woman I Tiic dooi into tlu; 
street ! " 

I advanced \i[h)U Ik t, and Lbe same fear whicii had 
paralysed her gave her sense again. She (.pened the 

334 1'^E RED COCKADE. 

door beside lier, and pointed dumbly down a passage. 
1 hurried through the passage, rejoicing at my success, 
but before I could unbar the door that I found facing 
me a second woman came out of a room at the side, 
and saw me, and threw up her hands with a cry of 

" Which is the way to the church of the Capuchins ? " 
I said. 

She clapped one hand to her side, but she answered. 
" To the left 1 " she gasped. " And then to the right ! 
Are they coming ? " 

I did not stay to ask whom she meant, but getting 
the door open at last I sprang through the doorway. 
One look up and down the street, however, and I was 
in again, and the door closed behind me. My eyes 
met the woman's, and without a word she snatched 
up the bar I had dropped and set it in the sockets. 
Then she turned and ran up the stairs, and I followed 
her, the girl into whose room I had leapt, and 
whose scared face showed for a second at the end of 
the passage, disappearing like a rabbit, as we passed 

I followed the woman to the window of an upper 
room, and we looked out, standing back and peering 
fearfully over the sill. No need, now, to ask why I 
had returned so quickly. The roar of many voices 
seenied in a moment to fill all the street, while the 
casement shook with the tread of thousands and 
thousands of advancing feet, as, rank after rank, 
stretching from wall to wall, the mob, or one section of 
it, swept by, the foremost marching in order, shoulder 
to shoulder, armed with muskets, and in some kind 
of uniform, the rearmost a savage rabble with naked 
arms and pikes and axes, who looked up at the windows, 
and shook their fists and danced and leapt as they 


went by, with a great sbout of " Aux Arenes ! 
Aux Arenes /" 

In themselves they were a sight to make a quiet 
man's blood run chill ; but they had that in their midst, 
seeing which the woman beside me clutched my arm 
and screamed aloud. On six long pikes, raised high 
above the mob, moved six severed heads — one, the fore- 
most, bald and large, and hideously leering. They 
lifted these to the windows, and shook their gory locks 
in sport ; and so went by, and in a moment the street 
was quiet again. 

The woman, trembling in a chair, muttered that they 
had sacked La Vierge, the red cabaret, and that the 
bald head was a town-councillor's, her neighbour's. 
But I did not stay to listen. I left her where she was, 
and, hurrying down again, unbarred the door and went 
out. All was strangely quiet again. The morning sun 
shone bright and warm on the long empty street, and 
seemed to give the lie 'to the thing I had seen. Not a 
living creature was visible this way or that ; not a face 
at the window. I stood a moment in the middle of the 
road, disconcerted ; puzzled by the bright stillness, and 
uncertain which way I had been going. At last I re- 
membered the woman's directions, and set olV on the 
heels of tin; mob, until 1 reached the first tin iiiiig on 
the right. 1 took this, and had not gone a liundred 
yards before 1 recognised, a little in front of me, Madame 
Catinot's house. 

It showed to the sunshine a wide blind fionl.long 
rows of shuttered windows, and not a sign ot life. 
Nevertheless, here was sonKithing 1 knew, something 
which wore a semblance of familiarity, and 1 hailed it 
with hope; and, flinging myself on the door, knocked 
long and recklessly. The nctise seemed fit to wake the 
(leail ; it boomed and echoed in eVery dooi'way of the 


empty street, that uii the evening of my arrival had 
teemed with traffic ; I shivered at the somid — I shivered, 
standing conspicuous on the steps of the house, expect- 
ing a score of windows to be opened and heads thrust 

But I had not yet learned how the extremity of panic 
benumbs ; or how strong is the cowardly instinct that 
binds the peaceful man to his hearth when blood flows 
in the streets. Not a face showed at a casement, not 
a door opened ; worse, though I knocked again and 
ao'ain, the house T would awaken remained dead and 
silent. I stood back and gazed at it, and returned, 
and liammered again, thinking this time nothing of 

But without result. Or not quite. Ear away at the 
end of the street the echo of my knocking dwelt a little, 
then grew into a fuller, deeper sound — a sound I knew. 
The mob was returning. 

I cursed my folly then for lingering ; thought of the 
passage in the rear of the house that led to the church, 
found the entrance to it, and in a moment was speeding 
through it. The distant roar grew nearer and louder, 
but now [ could see the low door of the church, and I 
slackened my pace a little. As 1 did so the door before 
me opened, and a man looked out. T saw his face be- 
fore he saw me, and read it ; saw terror, shame, and 
rage written on its mean features ; and in some strange 
way I knew what he was going to do before he did it. 
A moment he glared abroad, blinking and shading his 
eyes in the sunshine, then he spied me, slid out, and with 
an indescribable Judas look at me, fled away. 

He left the door ajar— I knew him in some way for 
the door- keeper, deserting his post ; and in a moment 1 
was in the church and face to face with a sight I shall 
remember while I live ; for that which was passing out- 


side, that which I had seen during the last few minutes, 
gave it a solemnity exceeding even that of the strange 
service I had witnessed there before. 

The sun shut out, a few red altar lamps shed a sombre 
light on the pillars and the dim pictures and the vanish- 
ing spaces ; above all, on a vast crowd of kneeling 
women, whose bowed heads and wailing voices as they 
chanted the Litany of the Virgin, filled the nave. 

There were some, principally on the fringe of the as- 
sembly, who rocked themselves to and fro, weeping 
silently, or lay still as statues with their foreheads 
pressed to the cold stones ; whilst others glanced this 
way and that with staring eyes, and started at the slight- 
est sound, and moaned prayers with white lips. But 
more and more, the passionate utterance of the braver 
souls laid bonds on the others ; louder and louder the 
measured rhythm oV Ora pro nobis ! Ora pro nobis /" 
rose and swelled through the vaults of the roof; n>ore 
and more fervent it grew, more and more importunate, 
wilder the abandonment of supphcation, until — until I 
felt the tears rise in my throat, and my breast swell 
with pity and admiration — and then 1 saw Denise. 

She knelt between her mother and Madanie Catinot, 
nearly in the front row of those who faced the high 
altar. Whence I stood, 1 had a side view of her iac(5 
as she looked upward in rapt adoration — that face w iiicli 
I had once deemed so cliildish. Now at the thought 
that she prayed, perhaps for me — at the thouglit that 
this woman so pure and brave, that though llith more 
than a child, and soft, and gentle, and maidcMily, she 
could bear hciVHC'lf with no shadow of quailing in this 
stress of death at the thouglit that she loved nic, and 
prayed for me, 1 felt myself more or less than a man. 
I felt tears rising, I felt my breast heaving, and then — 
and then as I went to drop ou my knees, against the 



great doors on the farther side of the church, came a 
thunderous shock, followed by a shower of blows and 
loud cries for admittance. 

A horrible kind of shudder ran through the kneeling 
crowd, and here and there a woman screamed and 
sprang up and looked wildly round. But for a few 
moments the chant still rose monotonously and filled 
the building ; louder and louder the measured rhythm 
of " Ora pro nobis! Ora pro nobis!" still rose and fell 
and rose again with an intensity of supplication, a 
pathos of repetition that told of bursting hearts. At 
length, however, one of the leaves of the door flew open, 
and that proved too much ; the sound sent three parts 
of the congregation shrieking to their feet — though a 
few still sang. By this time I was half way through 
the crowd, pressing to Denise's side ; before I could 
reach her the other door gave way, and a dozen men 
flocked in tumultuously. I had a glimpse of a priest — 
afterwards I learnt that it was Father Benoit — standing 
to oppose them with a cross upraised ; and then, by the 
dim light, wliich to them was darkness, I saw — unspeak- 
able relief — that the intruders were not the leaders of 
the mob, bilt foremost the two St. Alais, blood-stained 
and black with powder, with drawn swords and clothes 
torn ; and behind them a score of their followers. 

In their relief women flung themselves on the men's 
necks, and those who stood farther away burst into loud 
s )bbing and weeping. But the men themselves, after 
securing the doors behind them, began immediately to 
move across the church to the smaller exit on the alley ; 
one crying that all was lost, and another that the east 
gate was open, while a third adjured the women to 
separate — adding that in the neighbouring houses they 
would be safe, but that the church would be sacked ; 
and that even now the Calvinists were bursting in the 


gates of the monastery tlivonQ;li which the fugitives had 
retreated, after being driven out of tlie Arenes. 

All, on the instant, was panic and wailing and con- 
fusion. I have heard it said since that the worst thing 
the men could have done was to take the church in 
their flight, and that had they kept aloof the women 
would not have been disturbed ; that, as a fact, and in 
the event, the church was not sacked. But in such a 
hell as was Nimes that morning, with the kennels run- 
ing blood, and men's souls surprised by sudden defeat, it 
was hard to decide what was best ; and I blame no one. 

A rush for the door followed the man's words. It 
drove me a little farther from Denise ; but as she and the 
group round her held back and let the more timid or 
selfish go first, I had time to gain her side. She had 
drawn the hood of her cloak close round her face, and 
until I touched her arm did not see me. Then, with- 
out a word, she clung to me — she clung to me, looking 
up ; I saw her face under tlie hood, and it was hap])y. 
God I ll was ha]ipy. even in that scene of terror! 

After that, Madame St. Alais, though she greeted me 
with a bitter smile, had no power to repel me. "^'ou 
an; quick. Monsieur, to profit by your victory," she said, 
in a scatliing tone. Aiul that was all. Unrebuked, 1 
[)a8Ked my arm round Denise;, and followed clote on 
Ijouis and Madame Catinot ; while Monsieiw le 
Mar(|uis. after speaking with his mother, followed. As 
lu! did so his eye fell <»n inc. but he only smiled, atid to 
Honitithing Madame; said, answered aloud, " Mmi Ihni, 
>radame ; what does it matter? We have thrown iIm' 
last stake and lost. T^et us leavt; IIm; table ! " 

She dropped licr hood over hcu" face ; and even in that 
moment of fear and e.xcitemcnt 1 found sonieliiing 
tragic in the act, and on a suddeii pitied lier. I'lut it 
was no time for Hcntinient or pity ; tin; pursuers wore 



not far behind the pursued. We were still in the church 
and some paces from the threshold giving on the alley, 
when a rush of footsteps outside the great door behind 
us made itself heard, and the next instant the doors 
creaked under the blows hailed upon them. It was a 
question whether they would stand until we were out, 
and I felt the slender figure within my arm quiver and 
press more closely to me. But they held — they held, 
and an instant later the crowd before us gave way, and 
we were outside in the daylight, in the alley, hurrying 
quickly down it towards Madame Catinot's house. 

It seemed to me that we were safe then, or nearly 
safe ; so glad was I to find myself in the open air and 
out of the church. The ground fell away a httle to- 
wards Madame Catinot's, and I could see the line of 
hastening heads bobbing along before us, and here and 
there white faces turned to look back. The high walls 
on either hand softened the noise of the riot. Behind 
me were M. le Marquis and Madame ; and again be- 
hind them three or four of M. le Marquis' followers 
brought up the rear. I looked back beyond these and 
saw that the alley opposite the church was still clear, 
and that the pursuers had not yet passed through the 
church ; and I stooped to whisper a word of comfort to 
Denise. I stooped perhaps longer than was necessary, 
for before I was aware of it I found myself stumbling 
over Louis' heels. A backward wave sweeping up the 
alley had brought him up short and flung him against 
me. With the movement, as we all jostled one another, 
there arose far in front and rolled up the passage be- 
tween the high walls a sound of misery ; a mingling of 
groans and screams and wailing such as I hope I may 
never hear again. Some strove furiously to push their 
way back towards the church, and some, not under- 
standing what was amiss, to go forwards, and some fell, 


and were trodden under foot ; and for a few seconds 
the long narrow alley heaved and seethed in an agony 
of panic. 

Engaged in saving Denise from the crush and keep- 
ing her on her feet, I did not, for a moment, under- 
stand. The first thought I had was that the women — 
three out of four were women — had gone mad or given 
way to a shameful, selfish terror. Then, as our com- 
pany staggering and screaming rolled back upon us, 
until it filled but half the length of the passage, I heard 
in front a roar of cruel laughter, and saw over the in- 
tervening heads a serried mass of pike-points filling 
the end of the passage opposite Madame Catinot's 
house. Then I understood. The Calvinists had cut 
us off ; and my heart stood still. 

For there was no retreat. I looked behind me, aud 
saw the alley by the church-porch choked with men 
who had reached it through the church ; alive witli 
liarsh mocking faces, and scowling eyes, and cruel 
thirsty pikes. We were hemmed m ; in the long high 
walls, which it was impossible to scale, was no door or 
outlet short of Madame Catinot's house — and that was 
guarded. And bef(jre and behind us were the pikes. 

1 dream of that scene sometimes ; of the sunshine, 
hot and bright, that lay ghastly on white faces dis- 
torted with fear; of women fallen on thuii' knees and 
lifting hands this way and that; of others screaming 
and uttering frenzied prayers, or iianging on nun's 
necks; of the long writiiing line of humanity, where- 
in fear, showing itself in every shaix!, had its way; 
aljove all of the fiendish j(H;rs and laughter of thi- 
victors, us they cried to the men to step out, or hurled 
vile words at the women. 

Even Nimes, mother of factionu, parent of a hunch'ed 
quarLerless brawls, never saw a worse scene, or one 

342 TtiE Rl-.D COCKADE. 

more devilish. For a few seconds in the surprise of 
this trap, ni the sudden horror of finding ourselves, 
when all seemed well, at grips with death, I could only 
clutch Denise to nie tighter and tighter, and hide her 
eyes on my breast, as 1 leaned against the wall and 
groaned with white lips. O God, I thought, the 
women ! The women ! At such a time a man would 
give all the world that there might be none, or that he 
had never loved one. 

St. Alais was the first to recover his presence of mind 
and act — if that could be called action which was no 
more than speech, since we were hopelessly enmeshed 
and outnumbered. Putting Madame behind him he 
waved a white kerchief to the men by the door of the 
church — who stood about thirty paces from us — and ad- 
jured them to let the women pass ; even taunting them 
when they refused, and gibing at them as cowards, wlio 
dared not face the men unencumbered. 

But they only answered with jeers and threats, and 
savage laughter. " No, no, M. le Pretre ! " they cried. 
" No, no ! Come out and taste steel ! Then, perhaps, 
we will let the women go ! Or perhaps not ! " 

" You cowards ! " he cried. 

But they only brandished their arms and lauglied, 
shrieking: "A has les traitres ! A has les pretres ! 
Stand out ! Stand out, Messieurs ! " they continued, 
" or we will come and pluck you from the women's 
skirts ! " 

He glowered at them in unspeakable rage. Then a 
man on their side stepped out and stilled the tumult. 
" Now listen ! " said this fellow, a giant, with long 
black hair falhng over a tallowy face. " We will give 
you three minutes to come out and be piked. Tlien 
the women shall go. Skulk there behind them, and we 
fire on all, and their blood be on your heads." 


o i-o 

St. Alais stood speechless. At last, " Yuu are 
fiends!" he cried in a voice of horror. "Would you 
kill us before their eyes ? " 

" Ay, or in their laps!" the man retorted, amid a roar 
of laughter. " So decide, decide ! " he continued, danc- 
ing a clumsy step and tossing a half-pike round his 
head. " Three minutes by the clock there ! Come 
out, or we fire on all ! It will be a dainty pie ! A dainty 
Catholic pie, Messieurs ! " 

St. Alais turned to me, his face white, his eyes star- 
ing ; and he tried to speak. But his voice failed. 

And then, of what happened next I cannot tell ; for, 
for a minute, all was blurred. I remember only how the 
sun lay hot on the wall beyond his face, and how black 
the lines of mortar showed between the old thin Koman 
bricks. We were about twenty men and perhaps fifty 
women, huddled together in a space some forty yards 
long. Groans burst from the men's lips, and such as 
had women in their arms — and they were many — leaned 
against the wall and tried to comfort them, and tried to 
jMit tliem from them. One man cried curses on the 
dogs who would murder us, and shook his fists at tliem ; 
and Hoinv. rained kisses on the pale senseless faces that 
lay on their breasts — for, thank God, many of the women 
had fainted ; while otheis, hke St. Alais, looked unite 
agony into eyes that told it again, or clasped a luigh- 
bour's hand, and lookt'd u[) into a sky piteously blue 
and bi-igbt. .\nd 1 — 1 do not l<now wliat I did, save 
look into Denise's eyes and l(;(jk and hjok ! There was 
no senKciossness in them. 

lienieniber that the sun shone on all tins, and liic 
birds twittered and cliiiijcd in the gardens beyond the 
walls ; that it wanted an iiour oi' two of high noon, a 
soutliern noon ; that in the crease of the; vallny the 
Khone sparkled between its banks, and not far olf the 


sea broke rippling and creaming on the shore of Les 
Bouches ; that all nature rejoiced, and only we — we, 
pent between those dreadful walls, those scowhng faces, 
saw death imminent — black death shutting out all 

A hand touched me ; it was St. Alais' hand. I think, 
nay, I know, for I read it in his face, that he meant to 
be reconciled to me. But when I turned to him — or 
it may be it was the sight of his sister's speechless misery 
moved him — he had another thought. As the black- 
haired giant called "One minute gone!" and his follow- 
ing howled, M. le Marquis threw up his hand. 

'* Stay !" he cried, with the old gesture of command. 
" Stay ! There is one man here who is not of us ! 
Let him pass first, and go ! " And he pointed to me. 
" He has no part with us. I swear it ! " 

A roar of cruel laughter was the answer. Then, " He 
that is not with me is against me ! " the giant quoted 
impiously. And they jeered again. 

On that, I take no credit for what I did. In such 
moments of exaltation men are not accountable, and, 
for another thing, I knew that they would not listen, 
that I risked nothing. And trembling with rage I flung 
back their words. "I am against you!" I cried. "I 
would rather die here with these, than live with you ! 
You stain the earth ! You pollute the air ! You are 

fiends " 

No more, for with a shrill laugh the man next me, 
a mere lad, half-witted, I think, and the same who had 
cursed them, sprang by me and rushed on the pike- 
points. Half a dozen met in his breast before our eyes 
— before our eyes— and with a wild scream he flung up 
his arms and was borne back against the side-wall dead 
and gushing blood. 

Instinctively I had covered Denise's face that she 


might not see. And it was well ; for at that — there 
was a kind of mercy in it, and let me tell it quickly — 
the wretches tasting blood broke loose, and rushed on 
us. I saw St. Alais thrust his mother behind him, and 
almost with the same movement fling himself on the 
pikes ; and I, pushing Denise down into the angle of 
the wall — though she clung to me and prayed to me — 
killed the first that came at me with Fronient's pistol, 
and the next also, with the other barrel at point blank 
distance — feeling no fear, but only passion and rage. 
The third bore me down with his pike fixed in my 
shoulder, and for a moment I saw only the sky, and his 
scowling face black against it ; and shut my eyes, ex- 
pecting the blow that must follow. 

But none did follow. Instead a weight fell on me, 
and I began to struggle, and a whole battle, it seemed 
to me, was fought over me — in that horrible slaughter- 
house alley, where they dragged men from women's 
arms, and forced them, screaming, to the wall, and 
stabbed them to death without pity ; and things were 
done of which I dare not tell ! 




I THANK Heaven that I saw little more than I have told. 
A score of feet trampled on me as the murderers stum- 
bled this way and that, and bruised me and covered me 
with blood that was not my own. And I heard screams 
of men in the death-throe, ear-piercing shrieks of 
women — shrieks that chilled the blood and stopped the 
breath — mad laughter, sounds of the pit. But to rise 
was to court instant death, and, though I had no hope 
and no looking forward, my momentary passion had 
spent itself and I lay quiet. Resistance was useless. 

At last I thought the end had come. The body that 
pressed on me, and partly hid me, was abruptly dragged 
away ; the light came to my eyes, and a voice cried, 
briskly : " Here is another ! He is alive ! " 

I staggered to my feet, stupidly willing to die with 
some sort of dignity. The speaker was a stranger, but 
by his side was Buton, and beyond him stood De Geol ; 
and there were others, all staring at me, face beyond 
face. Still, I could not believe that I was saved. " If 
you are going to do it, do it quickly," I muttered ; 
and I opened my arms. 

" God forbid ! " Buton answered hurriedly. " Enough 
has been done already, and too much ! M. le Vicomtc, 
lean on me ! Lean on me, and come this way. Mun 
Dieu, I was only just in time. If they had killed 

you " 


" That is the tifth," said De Geol. 

Buton did not answer, but taking my arm, gently 
urged me along, and De Geol taking the other side, I 
walked between them, through a lane of people who 
stared at me with a sort of brutish wonder — a lane of 
people with faces that looked strangely white in the 
sunshine. I was bareheaded, and the sun dazzled and 
confused me, but obeying the pressure of Baton's hand 
I swerved and passed through a door that seemed to 
open in the wall. As I did so I dropped a kerchief 
which some one had given me to bind up my shoulder. 
A man standing beside the door, the last man on the 
right-hand side of the lane of people, picked it up and 
gave it to me with a kindly alacrity. He had a [)ike, 
and his hands were covered with blood, and I do not 
doubt that he was one of the murderers ! 

Two men were carrying some one into the house 
before us, and at the sight of the helpless body and 
hanging head, sense and memory returned to me with a 
rush. 1 caught Buton by the breast of his coat and 
shook him — shook him savagely. " Mademoiselle de 
St. Alais ! " 1 cried. " What have you done to her, 
wretcli ? \i you have " 

" Hush, Monsieur, hush, " he answered leproach fully. 
" And be yourself. She is safe, and iii-rc, I give you 
my word. She was carried in nnmng llic lirsL I don't 
think a hair of her head is injured." 

" She was carried in here?" 1 said. 

" Yes, M. le Viconit.'.' 

" And safe? " 

" Yes, yes." 

I believe that at that I l» niLo tears n(;t allog(!ther 
unmanly ; for tlwy were tears of thankfuhicsK and grati- 
tude. 1 had gone through very nnich, and, though the 
W(jund in my arm was a trifh;, I had lost souie blood ; 

348 THli Rt-D COCKADE, 

and the tears may be forgiven me. Nor indeed was I 
alone in weeping that day. I learned afterwards that 
one of the very murderers, a man who had been fore- 
most in the work, cried bitterly when he came to him- 
self and saw what he had done. 

They killed in Nimes on that day and the two next, 
about three hundred men, principally in the Capuchin 
convent — which Froment had used as a printing-office, 
and made the headquarters of his propaganda — m the 
Cabaret Kouge, and in Froment's own house, which held 
out until they brought cannon to bear on it. Not more 
than one-half of these fell in actual conflict or hot blood ; 
the remainder were hunted down in lanes and houses 
and hiding-places, and killed where they were found, or, 
surrendering at discretion, were led to the nearest wall, 
and there shot. 

Later, both in Paris and the provinces, this severity 
was commended, and held up to admiration as the 
truest mercy ; on the ground that it stamped out the 
fire of revolt which was on the point of blazing up and 
prevented it spreading to the rest of France. But, 
looking back, I find in it another thing ; I find in it 
not mercy, but the first, or nearly the first, instance of 
that strange contempt of human life which marked the 
Eevolution in its later stages ; of that extravagance of 
cruelty which three years afterwards paralysed society 
and astounded the world, and, by the horrible excesses 
into which it occasionally led men, proved to the philo- 
sophers of the Human Eace that France in the last 
days of the eighteenth century could do in the daylight, 
at Arras and Nantes and Paris, deeds which the tyrants 
of old confined to the dark recesses of their torture- 
chambers : deeds — I blush to say it — that no other 
polite country has matched in this age. 

But with these crimes — and be it understood I do 


not refer liere to the work of the p^uillotine — I tliank 
God that I have at this time nothing to do. They left 
their traces on later pages of my life — as on the life of 
what Frenchman have they not? — and some day I may 
revert to them. But my task here barely touches them. 
It is enough for me to say that of eighteen men who 
shared with me the horrors of the alley by the Capuchins, 
four only lived to tell the tale, and look back on the 
walls of Nimes ; they and I owing our lives in part to 
the timely arrival of Buton and some foreign repre- 
sentatives, who did not share the Cevennols"' fanaticism, 
and partly to the late relenting of the murderers 

Of the four, Father Benoit and Louis St. Alais were 
two, and strange was the meeting, when we three, so 
wonderfully preserved, with clothes still torn and dis- 
ordered, and faces splashed with blood, came together 
in the upstairs salon at Madame Catinot's. The 
shutters of the room, with the exception of one high 
corner shutter, were still closed ; dead ashes lay white 
and cold in the empty fire-place, that had bla/.ed so 
ciieerfully in my lujnour the night I supped with 
Madame Catinot. The whole room was gloomy and 
chill, the furniture cast long shadows, and up the 
stairs came the clamour of the mob, that iiaving seen 
us into the house (eddied curiously round the scene of 
the murder, and could not have enougli of it. 

A strange meeting, for we three had all loved one 
another, and by stress of i\u\ times had been separated. 
Now we met as from the grave, ghostly figures, livid, 
trembling, with .sluiking hands and ey<!s burning with 
the light of fever; but with all difTerences ptnged away. 
"My lirother ! " " Vom I'.rother ! " and Louis' hands 
met mine, as if the dead man who had dicsd with tiie 
courage of his race joined them ; wliile I'^atber Jjenoit 


wrung his hands in uncontrollable grief or walked the 
room, crying: "My poor children! Oh, my poor 
children ! God have mercy on this land ! " 

A low sound of women's voices, and weeping, with 
the hurrying of feet going softly to and fro, came from 
the next room : and that it was, I think, that presently 
calmed us, so that except for an occasional burst of 
grief on Louis' part we could talk quietly. I learned 
that Madame St. Alais lay there, sadly injured in the 
lyiSlee, either by her fall or a blow from a foot ; and 
that Denise and Madame Catinot and a surgeon were 
with her. The very room in its gloom was funereal, 
and we talked in whispers — and then sank into silence ; 
or again one or other would rise with a shudder of re- 
membrance, and walk the room with heaving breast. 
Presently, the sound of guns coming to our ears, we 
forgot ourselves for a while and talked of Froment, and 
what chance of escape he had, and listened and heard 
the mob raving and howling as it surged by ; and then 
talked again. But always as men who were no longer 
concerned ; as men whom death had released from the 
common obligations. 

Presently they came and called Louis, who went to 
his mother ; and then after another interval Father 
Benoit was summoned, and 1 walked the room alone. 
Silence after so great commotion, solitude, when an 
hour before I had dealt death and faced it in that in- 
ferno, safety after danger so imminent, all stirred the 
depths of my heart. When, in addition, I thought of 
St. Alais"" death, and recalled the brilliant promise, the 
daring, the brightness of that haughty spirit now for 
ever quenched, I felt the tears rise again. I paced 
the room in uncontrollable emotion, and was thankful 
for the gloom that allowed nio to give it vent. Old 
times, old scenes, old affections rose up, and my boy- 


hood ; I remembered that we had played together, I 
forgot that we had gone different ways. 

After a long time, a long, long time, when evening 
had nearly come, Louis came in tome. " WW] yon comeV" 
he said abruptly. 

"To Madame St. Alais?" 

"Yes, she wants to see you," he replied, holding the 
door open, and speaking in the dull even tone of one 
who knows all. 

After such a scene as we had passed through comes 
reaction ; I was worn out and I went with him me- 
chanically, thinking rather of the past than the present. 
But no sooner was I over the threshold of the next 
room, which, unlike that I had left, was brilliantly lit 
by candles set in sconces, the shutters being closed, 
than I came to myself with a shock. Propped up with 
pillows on a bed opposite the door, so that I met her 
eyes and had a full view of her face as I entered, lay 
Madame St. Alais ; and I stood. Her face was white 
with a red spot Ijurniiig in each cheek ; lier eyes matclied 
the colour in brilliunce ; but it was neitber of tbese 
tilings that brougbt me up suddenly, nor though I 
nf>tic(!d it with foreboding — the way in wliich she 
plucked at the coverlet when slie spoke. It was some- 
thing in lier expression; something so inilitting tlu; 
occasion, so bi/arr(! and light that I stood u|)|)all('(l. 

She saw my hesitation, and in a gay and sliglitly 
affected tone, that in a moment told tbe story, a tone 
more dreadfid under tb(j circumstances tlian -(be nios^ 
[nitbetic outbursts, nhc rejiroiKdied me witb it. " Wel- 
come, M. le Vicomte," she said. ".\nd yet I am glad 
to see that you have some nuMlesty. W'e will not be 
hard on you, however. .\ late repcaitancc is Ix^ttcr tban 
none, and — where is my fan, Denise? Child, my fan !" 
Denise rose with a cboking sound from ber seat by 


the bed, and must, I think, have broken down ; we had 
all nerves worn to the last thread. But Madame 
Catinot saved the situation. Hastily reachinj^ a fan 
from a side table she laid a firm hand on the younger 
woman's shoulder as she passed, and gently pressed lier 
back into her seat. 

" Thank you, my dear," Madame St. Alais said, play- 
ing an instant with the fan, and smiling from side to 
side, as I had seen her smile a hundred times in her 
salon. " And now, M. le Yicomte," she continued with 
ghastly archness, " I think that you will have the grace 
to say that I was a true prophet ? " 

I muttered something, heaven knows what ; the 
scene, with Madame's smiling face, and the others' 
bowed shoulders and averted eyes, was dreadful. 

" I never doubted that you would have to join us," 
she went on, with complacency. " And if I were cruel, 
I should have much to say. But as you have returned 
to your allegiance before it was too late, we will let by- 
gones be bygones. His Majesty is so good that— but 
where are the others? We cannot proceed without them." 

She looked round with a touch of her native peremp- 
toriness. "Where is M. de Gontaut?" she said. "Louis, 
has not M. de Gontaut arrived ? He promised to be 
here to witness the contract." 

Louis, from his place by one of the closed windows, 
where he stood with Father Benoit and the surgeon, 
answered in a strained voice that he had not yet arrived. 

Madame seemed to find something unnatural in his 
tone and our attitude, she looked uneasily from one to 
the other of us. " There is nothing the matter, is there ? " 
she said, flirting her fan more vigorously. " Nothmg has 
happened ? " 

" No, no, Madame," Louis answered, striving to 
soothe her. " Doubtless he will be here by-and-by." 


But a shadow of anxiety still clouded Madame's face. 
"And Victor?" she said. "He has not come either? 
Louis, are you sure that there is nothing the matter ? " 

" Madame, Madame, you will see him presently," he 
answered with a half-stifled sob ; and he turned away 
with a gesture of horror, which, but for one of the cur- 
tains of the alcove, she must have seen. 

She did not, though there was enough in this to arouse 
a sane person's suspicions. As he spoke, however, Ma- 
dame's eyes fell on me, and the piteous anxiety which had 
for the moment darkened her face, passed away as quickly 
as the shadow of a cloud passes on an April morning. 
She took up her fan again, and looked at me gaily. " Do 
you know," she said, " I had the strangest dream last 
night, M. le Vicomte — or was it when I was ill, Denise ? 
Never mind. Bui T dreamed all sorts of horrors ; that 
our house here was burned, and the house at Caliors, 
and that we had to fly and take refuge at Montaui)aii, 
and then — I think it was at Nimes. And that M. dc 
Gontaut was murdered, and all the canaille were up in 
arms ! As if — as if," she continued, vvitli a little laugh, 
cut short by a gasp of pain, " the King would ju'rinit 
such things, or they were possible. And there was 
something — something still more absurd about the 
('hurch." She paused, knitting her brows; ;ind tlicn 
with a t(juch of her fan dismissing the sul)ject: ,, But I 
forget — I forget. And just when it was most horrilile 
I awoke. It was all absurd. So extravagant you 
would all b(! ill with laughing if I could icmember it. 
I fancied that a [)air of red-heeled shoes were as good 
as a death warrant, and powder and patches condemned 
you at once." 

She paused. The fan dropped from h(!r band, and 
she looked njund uneasily. " I think -I think I am not 
quite W(!ll yet," she said in a dilTcrcnt tone, and a sjiasm 


354 '^'W7i RED COCKADE. 

crossed her face — it was plain that she was in pain. 
" Louis ! " she contuiued petulantly, " where is the no- 
tary ? He might read the contract. Doubtless Victor 
and M. de Gontaut will be here before long. Where is 
he?" she continued sharply. 

It is easy to say that we might have played our parts ; 
but the pity and the horror of it, falling on hearts 
already tortured by the scenes of the day, fairly un- 
manned us. Denise hid her face, and 'trembled so that 
the chair on which she sat shook ; and Louis turned 
away shuddermg, while I stood near the foot of the bed, 
frozen into silence. This time it was the surgeon, a 
thin young man of dark complexion, who put himself 

" The papers are in the next room, Madame," he said 

" But you are not M. Pettifer ? " she answered queru- 

" No, Madame, he was so unwell as to be unable to 
leave the house." 

" He has no right to be unwell," Madame retorted 
severely. " Pettifer unwell, and Mademoiselle St. Alais' 
contract to be signed ! But you have the papers ? " 

" In the next room, Madame." 

"Fetch them! Fetch them !" she answered, her eyes 
wandering uneasily from one to another. And she 
moved in the bed and sighed as one in pain. Then, 
" Where is Victor? Why does he not come ?" she asked 

" I think I hear him," Louis said suddenly. It was 
the first time he had spoken of his own free will, and I 
caught a new sound in his voice. " I will see," he went 
on, and moving to the door he gave me a sign, as he 
passed, to follow him. 

I muttered something, and did so. In the room in 


which I had waited, the half-shuttered room of gloom 
and shadows, from which Louis had fetched me, we 
found the surgeon groping hastily about. " Some paper, 
Monsieur," he said, looking up impatiently as we en- 
tered. " Some paper ! Almost anything should do." 

" Stay ! " Louis said, his voice harsh with pain. " We 
have had too much of this — this mockery. I will have 
no more." 

" Monsieur '?"' 

" I say I will have no more I " Louis answered fiercely, 
a sob in his throat. " Tell her the truth." 

" She would not believe it." 

" At any rate, anything is better than this." 

"Do you mean it, Monsieur?" the surgeon asked 
slowly, and he looked at him. 

" I do." 

" Then 1 will have no part in it," the man answered 
with gravity. " I acquit myself of all responsibility. 
Nor shall you do it, Monsieur, until you have heard 
what the inevitable result will be." 

*" My mother cannot recover," Louis said stubbornly- 

" No, Monsieur, nor will she live, in my opinion, more 
than a few hours. When the fever that now supports 
her begins to wane she will collapse, and die. It de- 
pends on yr)u whether she closes her eyes, knowing none 
of the evil that has happened, or her son's death ; or 
dies " 

" It is horrible ! " 

*' It is for you to choose," the surgeon answered in- 

Louis looked round. " There is paper there," ho said 

1 suppose that w«; had Jjecn absiiut from the room no 
more than a couple of minutes, but when we returned 
we found Madame St. Alais calling inipationtly for us 


and for Victor. " Wlun'e is liu? Where is ho?" she 
repeated feverishly. " AVhy is he late to-day of all days? 
There is no — no quarrel between you ?" And she looked 
jealously at me. 

" None, Madame," I said, with tears in my voice. 
" That I swear ! " 

" Then why is he not here ? And M. de Gontaut? " 
Her eyes were still bright; the red spot burned still in her 
cheeks ; but her features had taken a pinched look, she 
was changed, and her fingers were never still. Her 
voice had grown harsh and unnatural, and from time to 
time she looked round with a piteous expression as if 
something puzzled her. " I am not well to-day," she 
muttered presently, with a painful effort to be herself. 
" And I forget to be as gay as I should be. Made- 
moiselle, go to M. le Vicomte, and say something pretty 
to amuse us while we wait. And you, M. le Vicomte ! 
In my young days it was usual for the fiance to salute 
his mistress on these occasions. Fie on you ! For 
shame. Monsieur ! I am afraid that you are a laggard 
in love." 

Denise rose, and came slowly to me before them all, 
but no word passed her pale lips, and she did not raise 
her eyes to mine. She remained passive when in accord- 
ance with Madame's permission I stooped and kissed 
her cold cheek ; it grew no warmer, her eyes did not 
kindle. Yet I was satisfied, more than satisfied ; for as 
I leant over her I felt her little hands — little hands I 
longed to take in mine and shelter and protect — I felt 
them clutch and hold the front of my coat, as the child 
clings to its mother's neck. I passed my arm round 
her before them all, and so we stood at the foot of 
Madame's bed, and she looked at us. 

She laughed gaily. "Poor little mouse!" she said. 
" She is shy yet. Be good to her, wow cher, she is a 


tender morsel, and — I don't feel well ! I don't feel well," 
Madame repeated, abruptly breaking off, and lifting her- 
self in bed, while one hand went with difficulty to her 
head. " I don't — what is it ?" she continued, the colour 
visibly fading from her face and leaving it white and 
drawn, while fear leapt into her staring eyes. " What 
is it ? Fetch — fetch some one, will you ? The — the 
doctor ! And Victor." 

Denise slipped from uiy arm, and flew to her side. I 
stood a moment, then the surgeon touched my arm. 
" Go ! " he muttered. " Go. Leave her to the women. 
It will be quickly over." 

And so Madame St. Alais gave Mademoiselle to me at 
last ; and the compact for our marriage, into which she 
had entered so many years before with my dead father, 
was fulfilled. 

Madame died next morning, being taken not only 
from the evil to come, but from that which was then 
present, and roared and eddied through the streets of 
Ntmes round the unburied body of her son ; for she died 
without awaking from the delirium which followed her 
hurt. I went in to see her lying dead and little changed ; 
and in the quiet decorum of the lighted chamber I 
thought reverently of th(; change which one year — one 
brief year had made, coming at the end of fifty years of 
prosperity. It seemed pitiful to uw. then, as I stooped 
and kissed the; waxen hand — very pitiful ; now. knowing 
what tlie future had in store, rememixa'ing the twtuity 
years of exile and poverty and t(Hiium and hope deferred, 
that were to be the; lot of so many of lier friends, of so 
many of those who bad graced licr sdlons at St. Alais 
and Cahors, I think li(;r happy. PossesHcd of energy 
as well as pride, a rare combination in our order, she 
and hers dared greatly and greatly lost ; staked all and 


lost all. Yet better that, than the prison or the ^aiillo- 
tine ; or growing old and decrepit in a strange land, to 
return to a patrie that had long forgotten them ; that 
stood in the roads and jeered at the old berlins and pet- 
ticoats and headgear that were the fashion in the days 
of the Polignacs. 

I have said that the riots in Nimes lasted three days. 
On the last Buton came to me and told us we must go ; 
that to avoid worse things we must leave the city with- 
out delay, or he and the more moderate party who had 
saved us would no longer be responsible. On this, 
Louis was for retiring to Montpellier, and thence to the 
emigres at Turin ; and for a few hours I was of the 
same mind, desiring most of all to place the women in 

I owe it to Buton that I did not take a step hard 
to recall, and of which I am sure that I should have 
repented later. He asked me bluntly whither I was 
going, and when I told him, set his back against the 
door. "God forbid!" he said. "Who go, go. Few 
will return." 

I answered him with heat. " Nonsense ! " I cried. 
" I tell you, within a year you will be on your knees to 
us to come back." 

"Why?" he said. 

" You cannot keep order without us ! " 

" With ease," he answered coolly. 

" Look at the state of things here !" 

" It will pass." 

" But who will govern ? " 

"The fittest," he rephed doggedly. "For do you 
still think, M. ie Vicomte — after all that has happened 
— that a man to make laws must have a title — saving 
your presence ? Do you still think that the wheat will 
not grow, nor the hens lay eggs, unless the Seigneur's 


shadow falls on them ? Do 5^011 think that to fight, a 
man must have powder on his head as well as in his 

" I think," I retorted, " that when a man who does not 
know the sea turns pilot it is time to leave the vessel ! " 

" The pilot will learn," he answered. " And for quit- 
ting the vessel, let those go who have no business on 
board. Be guided, Monseigneur," he continued in a 
different tone. " Be guided. They have killed in 
Nimes three hundred in three days." 

" And you say, stay ? "" 

"Ay, for there is blood between us," he answered 
grimly. " That has been done now which will not easily 
be forgiven ; that has been done which will abide. Go 
abroad after this — and stay abroad ! Or rather do not 
— do not, but be guided," he continued, with rough 
emotion in his voice. " Go home to the Chateau, and be 
quiet, Monsieur, and no one will harm you." 

There was much in what he said. At any rate, I 
thought the advice so good that, after some hesitation, 
I not only det(!rmined to follow it, but I gave it to the 
otiiers. Jjut Louis would not change his mind. A 
horror of the country had seized him since his escape ; 
and he would go. He raised no opposition, however, 
when I asked him to give me Denise; and within twenty- 
four hours of her UKjther's death she became my wife, 
in that dark-siiuttored house by the Capuchins' alley, 
Father Bcnoit performing the service. Louis was at 
the same time married to Madame Catinot, who was to 
share his exile. Necidless to say there were no rejoicings 
at th(!S(! wctddingH ; no fete and no joy-bellH, and no 
bride-clothes, but sobs and wailingH, and cold lips and 
passive liands. 

But a bright day luis sometimes a weeping dawn, and 
though for three years or more our life; knew jiciils 


enough and some sorrows — the story of which I may one 
day tell — and we shared the lot of all Frenchmen in 
those times of shame and stress, I had never, no, not for 
a day or an hour, cause to repent the deed done so 
hurriedly at Nimes. Clinging hands and warm lips, 
eyes that shone as brightly in a prison as a palace, 
cheered me, when things were worst ; and when better 
days came, and with them grey hairs and a new France, 
my wife found means still to grace, and ever more and 
more to share my life. 

One word of the man to whom under God I owe it 
that I won her. He survived, but I never saw Froment 
of Nimes again. On the third day of the riots cannon 
were brought to bear on his tower, it was stormed, and 
the garrison were put to the sword, one man only, I 
believe, escaping with his life. That man was Froment, 
the indomitable, the most capable leader that the 
Eoyalists of France ever boasted. He got safely to the 
frontier and thence to Turin, where he was received 
with honour by those whose aid might a little earlier 
have saved all. Who fails must expect buffets, however ; 
the cold shoulder was presently turned to him ; he was 
slighted, and as the years went on his complaints grew 
louder. Once I sought to find and assist him, but he 
was then engaged in some enterprise on the African 
coast, and my circumstances were such that I could have 
done little had I found him. Soon afterwards, I believe, 
he died, though certain information never reached me. 
But dead or alive I owe him gratitude, respect, and 
other things, among which I count the greatest happi- 
ness of my life. 


October, 7895. 





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